EL SEGUNDO (CBSLA.com) — Second-year forward Julius Randle of the Los Angeles Lakers spent Wednesday practicing for the team’s Summer League game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday.
Randle is expected to play regular minutes in Friday’s game, but the team is hesitant to play him in back-to-back games. The Lakers are not expected to play Randle on Saturday’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers as a result.
Any reluctance to hold Randle from too much contact too quickly is understandable.
The 2014-15 Lakers season was summed-up in one tremendous setback in 2014, when Randle broke his leg in the first game of his rookie season, putting him out for the year.
Randle earned plenty of praise from teammates throughout the week, including from the Lakers’ brand new rookie point guard D’Angelo Russell, who the Lakers claimed with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft.
Russell was quick to point out how the big forward spread his talent from player to player whenever he is on the court.
Lakers center Robert Upshaw continued Russell’s praise with reporters from the practice facility Wednesday.
“Julius Randle is an ox,” Upshaw said. “He has a full head of steam. The guy can finish in the air with contact. He’s crazy.”
Russell and the Lakers will get their first up-close look at another big man Saturday. That game against the 76ers will put Jahlil Okafor up against the Lakers for the first time since the NBA Draft.
Okafor was considered the favorite for the Lakers’ No. 2 overall pick in the draft, and media suggested the former Duke standout was disappointed to be taken third overall by Philadelphia.