None of them have to do with Draymond Green or his Jumper. Let's make that clear. I don't think he's going to drastically change his skillset but if you have paid attention to my stance on Randle for the past 3 years, you know that I don't believe he has to nor should he be expected to change a whole lot.
I want to preface this post with this: based on the cap space they are trying to achieve next offseason, there is a 60/40 chance Randle starts the season as a Laker (closer to 50/50) and a 25/75 chance he's a Laker after the trade deadline this year.
Here's some of the reasons I believe you can go ahead and "buy" Randle's stock this year:
1) Lonzo Ball. I started with this because it's the most important reason. He will make Randle more efficient because Randle is a downhill player when he's at his best. Having a PG who finds you in the right spots to continue fluid movement instead of stopping with the ball and having to start again against a set D will make Randle much harder to guard.
2) Randle is a finisher, not creator. As we've seen with Kuzma, if you run and make yourself available, you will get the ball in position to score. I believe we will see this x5 with Randle. He has a high motor when motivated...and scoring motivates him. I'm not saying he can't create just that he won't be at his best if he's trying to force that aspect. It should be organic, within the flow of the offense, not something he feels he must showcase. He won't be Draymond but he'll be MUCH better than Faried. Just keep the ball moving and it will come back to you.
3) Speed and tempo mismatch. Randle's faster and stronger than most PFs. His ability to fill the lanes combined with Ball's ability to find him will force BIGs to have to change ends quickly, which isn't likely. This should lead to a lot of easy run-outs for Randle.
4) Rebound and Push. Add in that Randle can also act as the rebound a push guy to players that will be looking to play fast, it's not hard to see him averaging 4apg off transition plays alone. If you want to play fast, you must force turnovers and rebound the ball well on the defensive end. I can see Randle INCREASING his rebounding because he knows that this will lead to passes and scores for him and others. Passes to teammates who are now sprinting down the court. Scores for him because the floor will be spread due to defenders having their backs turned trying to sprint down the court to cover Randle's teammates. Randle doesn't have guard handles but downhill, I don't think there are many BIGS who will strip him once he's gotten a head of steam or he sees a lane open up.
5) Brook Lopez. Offensively, he will handle most of the skilled BIG duties for us. Good outside shooting BIG but underrated passer. Randle isn't much of a spacer but he could be deadly setting off ball screens. Those lead to mismatches down low and I believe Brook will find Randle. I've said before that Randle's best position in this offense is actually the 5 and with Lopez, that's now possible. I also believe that the added spacing will allow Randle more room to operate in the mid-range off selective ISO Face-up action. Not too much of this as it's a very inefficient play but it's one of those go-to plays that, given the right matchup and situation, Randle can execute as a primary option in the half court. That play may not be there every night but when it is, it adds another dimension to our half court to augment scoring in transition when teams go small (defensively).
6) He doesn't have to change. People have been calling on Randle to add a 3pt shot (unnecessary) and to play like a Point Forward (why?) but that's not his game. Can he make basic passes? Sure. Can he hit an occasional outside shot? Maybe (I hope so). When motivated (and in shape), he's a high energy guy that's built to rebound and utilize his speed and strength to stay in attack-mode. That's Randle at his best. Don't try to change him. Don't try to force him to be someone he isn't. This team has space for his natural tendencies as long as he's willing to sacrifice on-ball creating to act as a finisher. Downhill players (like Randle) need to be put in a position to keep pressure on the D. Changing his focus is a mistake because shifting gears isn't his strength.
Keep it simple, stupid. Don't try to re-invente the wheel. There are a lot of reasons to get excited about Randle this year but it's not about what you WANT to see him change/add (skillset). It's about who he is and how that fits with who we are becoming.
I've been a HUGE critic of Randle (understatement) and honestly, he's deserved every bit of it. Every year, he tried to "add" something to his game. He tried to show things that weren't compatible with his strengths. He didn't fit our previous roster. He didn't fit our previous offenses. Now? If he buys in, he can be a monster. He has a legit chance to prove that he was worth the #7 pick. He has a PG and Coach who play/think the game the right way. He has teammates that make sense alongside him.
The only things I pray Randle changes is his awareness and effort level: defensively and off ball (offensively). Do the little things that don't show up in the stats like using his speed to be aggressive on P&R Blitzes (defense) and putting in effort to set BONE-JARRING screens to free up shooters off the ball. Be VOCAL on DEFENSE and set the tone with his speed in the open court.
I'm high on his potential with this group as long as he doesn't try to change his skillset mid-stream. I think he's got enough to offer that he should solidify the basics before trying to add to his game. Find a winning role and perfect that. That's absolutely possible and the reason we should all be excited about Randle.
Edited by GCMD, July 14, 2017 - 12:29 PM.