Monday, 19 October 2015
JULIUS RANDLE Feature-RANDLE THE TRUTH
By TIM DAVID HARVEY
"If You F*** This Up, You’re A Really Big Idiot"-Kobe Bryant To Julius Randle (2014)
I guess he really is a big idiot! You can't f*** up your NBA debut worse than that. Just ask Greg Oden about it. Breaking your leg coming down on a play and ending your season before it even got out the gates of the first game. That's certainly a come down from being Silver named the seventh pick in the 2014 NBA draft for the Laker gold. Where's the lining to this cloud? 14 Minutes into your STAPLE Centre rookie game. And I thought my jokes are bad. That's cold. Even to a guy like me. The Kentucky star was fried, barely out of the frying pan and straight into the fire. Leaving the Big Nation a different kind of blue. Miles away from Rupp. An NBA journeyman of a road trip distance from being the next U.K cat after John Wall, Rajon Rondo, DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis to run wild in the West. Was the latest boom lowered on Lakerland following the nixing and clipping of Chris Paul, the departures of Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol and those of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash before they even really got their sneaks sweat, not to mention all of Kobe Bryant's injuries a bust to the already purple and black eye of these Los Angeles Hollywood Nights? Were the new University Of Kentucky school of first pick Karl-Anthony Townes and the other seven draft day declared players from the alumnus almost perfect, record breaking season about to takeover? A sophomore slump with not really a leg to stand on in that regard in what really will be this kids rookie season a game deferred. It's a crazy way for a teenager to become a 20 year old man in this game. Was Julius Randle done before he even begun?
Ha! You serious? You're kidding right? You better check a newspaper or something. Word to the tabloid headlines of Robert Horry. And this ones real too. You can't handle Randle. You can't handle the truth. Tom Cruise voice. Jack Nicholson sitting courtside understands. Loud and no shades clear to see. Because Randle is the truth. Even Warrior king and Golden State glistening champion Draymond Green can't guard him. At least according to Randle's handle. We guess that's why he was only the runner up to both the Defensive Player Of The Year and Most Improved Player award titles last season. Alas we're joking. We told you they where bad. We're not Dahantay Jonsin' Dray. But right now nobody can knock or take shots at J.R. The legs healed (we hope like Kobe too) and barring a SLAM curse...or one here (we called him the 'Top Cat' last year, but how can you not write about this young man?) he's ready to help run the new big-three of a soon to be number 24 less Lakers. Right alongside the surprise, sleeper rookie of last year that in the final half of his season took over Randle's mantle and ended up creeping onto the All-Rookie First Team and the number 2 pick of this years draft that Jordan Clarkson shares his brilliant to be backcourt with the loading of D'Angelo Russell. Clarkson is about to show that a new Jordan rules next to the 'Black Messiah' of D'Angelo like the 'Voodoo' of the 'Brown Sugar' singer. And like that iconic players return to stardom at the end of last year, the end of this one will see the Lakers making their classic comeback. How does it feel? They won't be untitled for long. It may take a while but look what the Lakers and their new man in the middle of all this have done in just a few preseason games, or even the hot as hell future fry-up in the sweats of the Summer League. The Lakers blew out a team from Israel by almost 50 and even beat the NBA champion Golden State Warriors in a a Cali' coast clash in San Diego, a city that hasn't seen the NBA since the Clippers where there (and may see them again if the Lakers can win this battle of Los Angeles once again and rage against the Lob City Clipper machine trying to claim the STAPLE as their one, true home (remember L.A.C. the Lakers hang banners, you hang selfies. Even Taylor Swift has one more up there then you next to your blank space...but then again it is Taylor Swift)), thanks to water from the ice hockey floor and a game called early. Even when the Lakers lost (a lot) Randle was still Charlie Sheening his polished game and all round repertoire from the cold of Canada to the heat of Hawaii. Aloha!
"He's Lamar Odom in a Zach Randolph body”-Kobe Bryant On Julius Randle (2015)
Hello! Even the Laker legend and the greatest competitor of all-time knows it and is ready to relinquish his crown to the future of the franchise and the other fresh faces that will one day adorn the pillars of Hotel Figueroa across from the STAPLES Center. This new forum of Nokia Live, bright lights talent looks ready to go in the big city, Showtime showcased skills already set. Names that look storied ready for NBA stone, championship engraved chapter and MVP worthy verse. Russell, Jordan and of course the good Julius. Just like the doctor J is just what the Lakers ordered, now trainer Gary Vitti has managed to get him off the table and back into the game. Just a few exhibitions is all you need. Getting through the first, real game is all the Lakers want. The legend of Laker legacy as one of the most storied franchises in NBA history is a notoriously B.I.G. one. One of seven footers that are the center of attention. Joining the small-ball revolution with guys like Russell would be unheard of in the past. Yeah sure that surname was big, but it was a big, 7 foot, shot blocking problem on the wrong side of the glory days of THE storied NBA franchise and the Lakers historic, classic rival the Boston Celtics. The Bill Russell led team that had all the luck, shamrock, champagne and victory balloons...even the purple and gold ones falling to an empty Forum floor. Chamberlain knew this, a Hollywood sign icon with a house up there, next to the logo of the NBA's Jerry West. Yet still he never wilted. Following in the MPLS, Minneapolis Laker sneaker steps of the first basketball superstar, Laker or NBA; George Mikan. Before giving way to another one of his competitors as the goggles of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar became Captain Los Angeles before he paved the painted way for the court to be dynasty destroyed under the sneaker smashes of the Incredible Hulking Shaquille O'Neal. Since those Jim Murray to Chick Hearn read and talk all about it days of thunder the shine of the Lake Show has joined those two in beautiful memory. Not working out as planned from the big drafts of Andrew Bynum or signings of Dwight Howard who although impressive enough, sadly didn't have the time to join the legendary line of Goliath, giant God's in this big picture town like Vlade Divac. But sometimes it's about a different type of big man skill. not all jut about the core. Just check the championship, sidekick and Sixth Man contributions of Laker legends like Pau Gasol (just look what this Spanish Bull is doing now) and Lamar Odom (Get well soon L.O. we love you! Your jersey always has and always will hang in this writers room...proudly). And of course the "little men" of West, Elgin Baylor, Gail Goodrich, Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant who are anything but small-ball in their huge part of Laker lore. As Kobe puts it Randle is Lamar Odom (praise Mamba gave a week before we even knew about the recent tragic events of Odom. And remember, no player could play like he played! No one has overcome as much as he! Have faith!) in Zach Randolph's (a player they've courted in the past like Pau from Memphis to join their floor) body. That's a hell of a compliment...especially from a guy like Kobe (but then again you saw Julius' behind the back, crosscourt pass to Bean right? Or the Russell to Randle pick and dunking roll that's the new, next gen Stockton and Malone).
But it's a Worthy one. Just like comparing him to the Big Game of another tall, but not huge in literal stature Laker legend in James Worthy. Or his and coach Byron Scott's 80's teammate A.C Green who returned for Shaq and Kobe's new millennium championship run that begun in his last season of 2001. Coincidentally both those purple and gold icons and favorites have been hired by the Lakers coaching staff as training for the new blood of purple players looking for gold, with a lot of focus on the kid from Kentucky. Alongside another former Laker and underrated NBA great that wears the number 30 Tracy Murray. The player from UCLA who from the golden era 90's to the new generation 00's knew how to put the ball through the hoop from all angles and degrees of difficulty. But yet despite having a top 50 game was never named to an All-Star team. Balling up though, this Los Angeles county favorite will help this new number 30 stitch his name too in a mid-February jersey one day. With A.C.'s cool as conditioned air play and James game worthwhile of the big stage tutoring this new student of the hardwood, it won't be long before he's smooth as Jaamal 'Silk' Wilkes, stepping it up to clutches of playoff playing and more. And I'm sure Randle has racked up some inspiration from Lamar Odom. An all round, coast to coast, butter to toast great who we're sure when he recovers (which we believe will happen and believes us is the most important thing) will be welcomed back to this franchise family with open arms like fellow Queensbridge native Metta World Peace. Who going to war with the NBA claims the whole league is soft...except for young and hard as a rock with the rock Julius. That's another hell of a compliment from the bruiser formerly known as Ron Artest, one of the greatest guards of the game who this Summer before his shock, return re-signing was muscling up his defensive skill, mentoring and training the young Randle. Just like he will be doing throughout the rest of this season that will at some points see this soaring sophomore hitting a rookie wall like a little red, Kobe corvette into Shaq harder than he did in the first game of the last season. As World Peace wages it "(Randle's) ceiling is high as his destiny". Or let fellow Ewing, Mourning and Mutombo, Georgetown big-man Roy Hibbert whose returning to his own defensive days of dominance beam with pride and praise in sharing his new formidable frontcourt with Julius tell it; "Julius is an animal. He’s the future of this team. He’s the future face of the NBA." You read that? "Animal"! "Future"...not just of the Lakers, but the NBA. From Wilt and West, to Magic and Kareem and Shaq and Kobe all the legendary Laker dynamic duos of dominance are about to be joined by a big-three in this three-ball age...but they're all about to be lead by the one. Until the back of D'Angelo Russell's jersey tells you differently, it will all be about number 30 before the ESPN documentary confirms it. Or truth be told you could just let number 24 have the last word like he always does before he finally passes the rock, aflame like a torch to a man who can score, steal, block, bound, post, push dribble and pass it...
"He Can Do Everything".