There is something to be said about being a Los Angeles Laker and if Monday’s introductory press conference was any indication, the attitude and confidence of Julius Randle will bode well in Los Angeles.
Sporting a purple-tie and bright smile, Randle was formerly introduced as the newest Laker at its practice facility in El Segundo as he was presented his new #30 jersey and spoke to the Los Angeles media.
“I’m truly blessed to be in a great organization, the greatest organization in the NBA,” said Randle. “Such an amazing opportunity for my family and I. I couldn’t be more happy to be in the city of Los Angeles.”
Every season, prospects are considered NBA ready in large part to their basketball skills, but having an NBA ready personality is just as important to succeed on and off the court.
That was evident in his response when asked if he could start right away on a ‘wide open roster’ as the season rolls around in October.
Randle is currently one of five players who are expected to make the team. That includes Kobe Bryant, Robert Sacre, Steve Nash, and second round draft pick Jordan Clarkson. With starting positions up for grabs, Randle does not expect to be handed anything just because he is a rare Lakers lottery pick.
“As far as the starting thing, that is something you have to earn,” said Randle, who averaged 15.0 points and 10.4 rebounds in his freshman year at the University of Kentucky. “I think I can come in and contribute right away, it’s just all going to depend on my work ethic, willing to put in the time into the gym and I think the results will show if I do that.”
After being selected at No. 7 by the Lakers in the 2014, Randle noted that teams would ‘regret’ passing on him. When asked what motivates him, it is not the naysayers but instead an attitude that fans will surely respect.
“First off to win, I hate to lose. I think that’s one of my biggest motivations,” said Randle. “Me wanting to be the best, reach my full potential, I definitely push myself in that way.”
Growing up a Laker fan, Randle is familiar with the expectations and demands of the fans and franchise. Coming from a historic basketball program with high expectations like at Kentucky, Randle will be no stranger to a transition where wins and losses are magnified by the fans.
“They love the Lakers and they expect nothing less but championships.”
There are some players that join the Lakers for a season or two and then there are those are simply Lakers at heart. For Randle, his attitude embodies what the franchise is about, a rare quality in players today.
If anything else, Randle earned many new fans with all the right answers on Monday. For the new kid on the block, his introduction in Los Angeles was a success and if that is any indication, the Lakers and its fans should be very happy and optimistic about what lies ahead.