Lakers, Julius Randle are left to consider what-ifs

Lakers Coach Byron Scott backtracks a bit after calling it 'kind of a wasted year' for Julius Randle

This might have been Julius Randle's time to shine. It's hard to say because nobody knows how good he'll be in the pros.

But the injured rookie would be sopping up plenty of minutes and learning what did or didn't work at the NBA level on a Lakers team that surrendered a long time ago.

"It's kind of a wasted year for him," Lakers Coach Byron Scott said Sunday, later backtracking from it a bit.

The seventh overall pick in last year's draft, Randle sustained a season-ending broken leg in the Lakers' opener, playing all of 13.6 minutes and scoring two points.

The team's other draft pick last year, second-rounder Jordan Clarkson, has been a delight in a season devoid of them. The extra court time has meant a lot to his development — he was averaging 14 points and 4.1 assists in 21 games as a starter before a 91-86 loss Sunday to Atlanta.

"Do I feel for [Randle] and the progress that he probably could have made at this particular point? Yeah," Scott said. "It's not like you start completely over. But this would have been great for him this year to get as much playing time as possible and develop just as much as Jordan."

Randle won't be sitting around idly in the near future with nothing to do but watch Kentucky try to achieve college basketball perfection. He will accompany the Lakers on a five-game trip that starts next week in Oklahoma City, Scott said.

Randle played for the Wildcats as a freshman and declared for the draft not long after they lost in the NCAA championship to Connecticut.

"We're going to start bringing him on road trips so I get a chance to talk to him a little bit more and kind of see what he sees. I'll give him my pointers and things like that just to start getting him prepared for next year," Scott said. "He needs a little bit of a jump just realizing what they do well, what they don't do well."

Randle was recently cleared to begin limited activities, with the goal of eventually playing for the Lakers' summer league team in July.

He said he had watched his weight, eaten healthily and, of greatest importance, felt no pain.

In addition to his broken leg last October, Randle underwent surgery in January to replace a screw in his right foot that was inserted several years ago because of a high school injury.

"I don't even think about. I don't feel it," Randle said of his leg and foot. "No pain, no soreness, no nothing."

The Lakers were happy when he dropped to them in the draft, though his rookie season quickly took a decisive turn for the worse.

"Even in training camp and everything, you could see he was a pretty sharp kid, that he had a good basketball IQ, picked up stuff very quickly, asked a lot of good questions," Scott said. "Those are good signs, obviously, so I don't think the learning curve is going to take him a long time. It's just a matter of him just getting back into the swing of things.

"He still can learn by watching, still can learn by observing other players, especially guys that he will be guarding in the near future."

Young still sore

Nick Young will undergo a CT scan Monday in an effort to determine the reason for continued soreness in his left knee. He has missed 10 games because of it.

"It's progressing, but it's just so slow and they don't understand why," Scott said. "He still has swelling, still has the pain in there."

Young is averaging 13.4 points this season, down from a career-high 17.9 last season. Worse, he is shooting only 36.6%, on pace for a career low. He was a career 42.8% shooter before this season.

Even his best days haven't ended well lately. He scored 19 points in the Lakers' overtime victory over Boston last month but was frowned upon by Scott and Kobe Bryant for being part of a jubilant on-court celebration afterward. He hasn't played since then because of his knee.

Young, who will be 30 in June, is under contract for three more years and $16.3 million.


When: 7:30 p.m. PDT.

Where: Oracle Arena.

On the air: TV: ESPN, TWC SportsNet, TWC Deportes; Radio: 710, 1330.

Records: Lakers 17-48; Warriors 52-13.

Record vs. Warriors: 1-2.

Update: One of the strangest games of the season was the Lakers' 115-105 victory over Golden State in December without Kobe Bryant. Seven Lakers scored in double figures that night to drop the Warriors to 23-4, though the Lakers didn't capture much momentum after climbing to 9-19 with that victory. The Warriors have the NBA's best overall and home record (29-2).

Twitter: Mike_Bresnahan

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