Jul 13, 2014, 8:00 PM EDT
LAS VEGAS — The Lakers selected Julius Randle with the seventh overall pick in this year’s draft, but due to the team trying to preserve every last dollar of its cap space in case it could convince any of the marquee free agents to come to Los Angeles, he remained unsigned, and was unable to play in Summer League until the contract issue was resolved.
That changed in a hurry on Sunday, moments before L.A. was set to take the floor for its second matchup in Las Vegas against the Pelicans.
Randle wasn’t exactly planning on playing, but things came together quickly, and he was in the Lakers starting lineup for the 1:30 p.m. local time tip-off — but not without a fair bit of scrambling to make it happen.
“I signed it like 20 minutes before the game,” Randle said. “We were on the way to the game, and I was in my polo and shorts. My agent called and he said ‘Hey, Mitch has landed. We’re signing today.’ I was like, what? I don’t even have my shoes. I had to run off the bus, go get my shoes, take a car up here to sign and then get ready to play.”
Randle was rocking a new-looking pair of gray LeBron 11 Elites with pink accents, and his game looked NBA-ready at times, in a performance that saw him finish with 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting, to go along with two rebounds in just over 21 minutes of action.
“That’s the first five-on-five I’ve done since the national championship game,” Randle said. “It was good to finally get out there and play, and start competing again.”
Randle showcased a high level of activity on both ends of the floor, with far less standing around on possessions than we’ve come to expect from NBA guys of his size and position. He got lost on defense at times, but the effort was evident — and on the offensive end of the floor, Randle was aggressive in attacking the basket by putting the ball on the floor, instead of settling for long jumpers outside.
“He’s been in camp paying attention from the sideline,” said Lakers coach Larry Lewis, who is sharing the Summer League sideline duties with Mark Madsen as the team continues its search to hire a new head coach. “He couldn’t go five-on-five with any contact, so I thought he showed he has some pretty impressive footwork. As a young player, banging against guys his size and even a little bigger, he handled his own. He’ll get in better shape as we go along, and I think he’s an asset. He has a good attitude; when it’s his fault, I think he accepts it. He’s a man.”
Randle would only say his performance was “decent,” but that’s to be expected in his first chance at NBA competition with minimal practice time, and with so much time off between five-on-five, live game situations. Lewis, however, was a bit more optimistic, and liked what he saw out of the team’s newly-drafted rookie prospect.
“I think he’ll get better,” Lewis said. “This is his first experience on the floor as a Laker in competition. To not have been able to be involved in camp like you’d want or expect, for that to be his first action, I don’t think we could have asked for anything better. I think he did a good job, and I only see him going up.”
May 7, 2015, 1:31 AM EDT
The Rockets had 64 free throw attempts in what was not always a pretty game.
May 7, 2015, 12:01 AM EDT
Shaquille O’Neal wipes out hard during TNT halftime show
May 6, 2015, 11:11 PM EDT
Team now has to find use for 20,000 unused slings
May 6, 2015, 10:33 PM EDT
Cavaliers produce a “30 for 30 seconds”
May 6, 2015, 9:44 PM EDT
James scored 33 points to send the Cavs back to Chicago tied 1-1.
May 6, 2015, 8:59 PM EDT
I still think he stays at least one more year.
May 6, 2015, 8:16 PM EDT
Doc Rivers unsure whether Clippers point guard will be ready for Game 3
May 6, 2015, 7:43 PM EDT
Good choice by voters
May 6, 2015, 7:00 PM EDT
Does he no longer want to look like his teammates?
May 6, 2015, 6:15 PM EDT
Ernie Johnson is the best.
May 6, 2015, 5:30 PM EDT
Golden State was 7-of-23 on uncontested looks.
May 6, 2015, 4:48 PM EDT
Will Dumars be the one deciding the future path of the Pelicans? Should he be?
May 6, 2015, 3:59 PM EDT
He also went through a high-tech training program this summer. And re-worked his jump shot.
May 6, 2015, 3:15 PM EDT
This gets LeBron back to playing the three, where he’s been most dangerous all season.
Dirk Nowitzki explains Mavericks not giving Rajon Rondo a playoff share, says ‘I think that got blown out of proportion’
May 6, 2015, 2:30 PM EDT
Rondo was a disaster with the Mavericks, and the team seemed to give him one last kick on his way out.
May 6, 2015, 1:45 PM EDT
Both are unrestricted free agents, and retirement remains a real possibility for each.
May 6, 2015, 1:07 PM EDT
You can ask “what should David Blatt do?” but it’s not like he’s hiding some great player on the bench, the guys there need to step up.
May 6, 2015, 12:30 PM EDT
Clippers won Game 1 on the road with Paul out of the lineup.
Thunder GM refutes report he didn’t consult Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook before hiring Billy Donovan as coach
May 6, 2015, 11:50 AM EDT
Discussing the move with Durant and Westbrook was the team’s only option.
May 6, 2015, 11:10 AM EDT
Pierce also had some words for the fans.
- Down 13 Rockets finally play with energy, come back to beat Clippers, even series 1-1 1
- LeBron’s big night helps Cavs recover to tie series with Bulls 10
- Chris Paul out Game 2 against Rockets 1
- Report: Bulls’ Jimmy Butler wins Most Improved Player 5
- PBT Extra: Mike Conley changes series, but Warriors will start to hit shots again 4
- Last summer Blake Griffin talked to Tim Duncan about leadership 7
- PBT Extra: Will anyone step up and be third scorer for Cavaliers in Game 2? 19
- Doc Rivers on whether Chris Paul plays in Game 2 vs. Rockets: ‘Right now, I just don’t think so’ 4