Updates from Monday, Nov. 10
ESPN's Marc Stein reports on the Lakers attempt to use a Disabled Player Exception for rookie Julius Randle:
Steve Kyler and Eric Pincus of BasketballInsiders.com provides the date by which the Lakers must use the exception and how much money they will be able to spend:
Updates from Tuesday, Nov. 4
The Lakers and Mark Media of the L.A. Daily News have Randle's thoughts following his surgery:
Updates from Wednesday, Oct. 29
The Lakers provide an update on Julius Randle's injury:
Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times initially reported the news:
The Lakers revealed the rookie suffered a broken leg:
CNN's Rachel Nichols provides a glimpse of Randle being helped into an ambulance:
Ramona Shelburne of ESPN is reporting that Randle is having surgery to repair the damage:
Following a miserable 2013-14 season that saw the Lakers struggle without the services of superstar guard Kobe Bryant, they landed a nice consolation prize in selecting Randle seventh overall out of the University of Kentucky in the 2014 NBA draft.
Randle was a dominant force for John Calipari's Wildcats as he somewhat surprisingly helped lead them all the way to the national title game. He fell a bit further in the draft than most initially expected, but the Lakers had to be thrilled to secure him.
Although Randle is a supremely talented player, it became clear from the start that the Lakers intended to bring the 19-year-old phenom along slowly. With the acquisition of Carlos Boozer during the offseason, much of the pressure on Randle to be a primary complement to Kobe right off the bat was alleviated.
Even so, the expectations were still high from a statistical standpoint. Steve Kyler of BasketballInsiders.com figured Randle would at least come close to averaging a double-double per game in 2014-15:
If that wasn't enough, Randle started to draw comparisons to Hall of Fame players before even suiting up for a regular-season contest. ESPN.com's Dave McMenamin went so far as to liken his skill set to that of Charles Barkley:
That is a lot of pressure to put on the shoulders of a first-year player, but it is understandable since the Lakers are searching for the next generation of stars to succeed Bryant. Randle may reach that level soon enough; however, the organization has done a nice job of keeping things in perspective.
Head coach Byron Scott has led the way in that regard, as he challenged the 6'9", 250-pound rookie to improve his conditioning during the lead-up to the season, according to Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times.
"The biggest thing with him right now is that he has to get in better shape," Scott said. "He's in good shape but he has to get in great shape...When you're not in great shape and you get tired, you lose focus, it's that simple. It's just a matter of getting him in great shape."
While the Lakers are lacking in star power aside from Bryant, they most definitely have an ensemble cast that is capable of picking up the slack both offensively and defensively with Randle out of action.
Even though the 2013-14 campaign was less than ideal, it gave L.A. the opportunity to thrust certain players into action to gain experience with valuable minutes. Veterans like Bryant and Boozer will be leaned on heavily, but the same can be said for Nick Young, Jordan Hill, Ryan Kelly and Wesley Johnson, among others.
As high as hopes are for Randle this season and beyond, he landed in a favorable position due to the Lakers' depth. He will certainly be a big part of the cause when he does return, but Los Angeles will be able to take a committee approach to replace his production in the meantime.
Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter