Someone had to try to grab all the wacky caroms off the Los Angeles Lakers’ many misses. Julius Randle was up for it.
The 19 rebounds he took Monday in a duck-and-cover loss to Indiana were emblematic of a young career bouncing the right way lately.
The former University of Kentuckys star has 21 double-doubles, more than any second-year player, and is showing increased confidence in his midrange game as his accuracy improves.
“He’s been pretty locked in lately and that’s a great thing,” Lakers Coach Byron Scott said. “He’s maturing. He’s really starting to understand this game and understand some of the things that he can do on a night-to-night basis.
“I love where he is right now.”
Randle is shooting 49.1 percent over the last 10 games, almost 10 percentage points better than he was beforehand. It’s still not where he wants, but the work on his outside touch and on using his right hand is making a difference.
Randle returned by default to the starting lineup 12 games ago because rookie Larry Nance Jr. was dealing with a sore right knee. Scott, however, isn’t necessarily ready to keep Randle with the starters when Nance returns at some point after the All-Star break.
“I’ve got two young power forwards that I love,” Scott said neutrally.
The seventh pick in the 2014 draft, Randle is averaging 13.3 points and 12.1 rebounds since regaining his starting spot.