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5 Realistic Expectations For Los Angeles Lakers Rookie Julius Randle

5 Realistic Expectations for Los Angeles Lakers Rookie Julius Randle

Julius Randle Los Angeles Lakers Press Conference
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Los Angeles Lakers seventh overall pick Julius Randle might be the most talented rookie selected in the draft this June. He showed elite rebounding and scoring skills playing on a Kentucky team that made an improbable run to the national championship game in March. Then, in the summer league, Randle displayed ball-handling and passing abilities most had no idea about. Lakers fans should be thrilled, and here’s why.

5. Start at least 50 Games

Julius Randle, Los Angeles Lakers
Jennifer Pottheiser /NBAE via Getty Images

5. Start at least 50 Games

Julius Randle, Los Angeles Lakers
Jennifer Pottheiser /NBAE via Getty Images

At the top of new coach Byron Scott priority's has to be getting Randle as many minutes as possible. While the Lakers’ front court is crowded, Randle must get the lion’s share of minutes at his natural power forward position to showcase and develop his abilities. Anything short of hitting this goal would be greatly detrimental to his, and the team's future.

4. Lead Lakers in Rebounding

Julius Randle, Los Angeles Lakers
Nick Laham/Getty Images

4. Lead Lakers in Rebounding

Julius Randle, Los Angeles Lakers
Nick Laham/Getty Images

According to sports-reference.com, Randle grabbed more rebounds (416) than anyone in the country last year. While he isn’t the most explosive athlete at his position, Randle is extremely strong and has a physical mentality when it comes to that part of the game. If minutes permit, there is no reason he shouldn’t average upwards of 10 boards per game.

3. Top Three on Lakers in Scoring

Julius Randle, Los Angeles Lakers
Brian Babineau /NBAE via Getty Images

3. Top Three on Lakers in Scoring

Julius Randle, Los Angeles Lakers
Brian Babineau /NBAE via Getty Images

It would be hard for anyone to lead a team featuring Kobe Bryant in scoring, so expecting Randle to do so as a rookie would be outrageous. That being said, Randle’s offensive rebounding abilities, combined with his quickness and strength make him pretty tough to guard. Twelve-15 points per game seems realistic, and he’ll probably be competing with Nick Young and Carlos Boozer for third-highest scoring average.

2. Top 5 on Lakers in Assists

Julius Randle, Los Angeles Lakers
Jack Arent/NBAE via Getty Images

2. Top 5 on Lakers in Assists

Julius Randle, Los Angeles Lakers
Jack Arent/NBAE via Getty Images

As the centerpiece of the Lakers’ summer league roster, Randle displayed ball-handling and passing abilities not seen while playing for Kentucky. Reports have surfaced since the draft that coach John Calipari preferred a more conservative game from Randle, making it difficult to showcase those aspects of his game. He’ll have more opportunity to do so in the NBA’s more open style of play.

1. Rookie of the Year

Julius Randle, Los Angeles Lakers
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

1. Rookie of the Year

Julius Randle, Los Angeles Lakers
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

While it’s always dangerous to read too far into summer league performances, there is always something to be learned watching a players’ first taste of NBA action. Randle showed a competitive drive and skills, not seen previously that should excite Lakers fans. If Scott gives him proper minutes and he checks the four previous boxes, he’ll deserve a place in contention for rookie of the year in one of the deepest rookie classes in recent memory.

Anthony F. Irwin is an NBA writer for Rantsports.com. Follow him on Twitter, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.