A move back into the starting lineup has helped Lakers forward Julius Randle take his game to another level, Bill Oram of The Orange County Register writes. The 23-year-old has averaged 16.1 points and 9.3 rebounds in just 26.5 minutes of action.
Randle, who started the season off the bench after two years as the team’s starting power forward, was promoted by Lakers head coach Luke Walton to be a physical presence for the squad and collect rebounds.
All in, Randle has registered seven double-doubles in the month of January alone while also taking major steps defensively. The move into the starting lineup, Oram writes, comes with more responsibility on that end of the ball considering that the Lakers tend to play man-to-man with their starters while switching everything with their reserves.
There’s more from the Pacific Division:
- X-Rays of Devin Booker‘s ribs came back negative, Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic writes. The 21-year-old Suns guard missed Monday’s game with a rib contusion but hopes to be back in the lineup Wednesday.
- The Trail Blazers are playing some of their best basketball of the season of late, Mike Richman of The Oregonian writes, but everything can change at the drop of a hat in the competitive Western Conference. Head coach Terry Stotts cautioned against counting out the Pelicans and Thunder following the recent season-ending injuries to DeMarcus Cousins and Andre Roberson, however.
- Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball has started testing his knee laterally, Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times tweets. Ball still isn’t practicing with the team but seems to be making gradual progress. Ball has missed seven straight games.