It wasn’t the greatest accuracy for a power forward, but the Lakers hope it’s an upward trajectory.
Julius Randle made five of 12 shots (41.7%) Sunday against Utah, a change from the previous four games when he made only three of 23 (13%).
The end of a trend? Tough to tell.
“I don’t think he’s lost confidence. I think he’s just frustrated,” Lakers Coach Byron Scott said Sunday. “This league, everybody, they watch tape and they scout. What they’re doing right now is just laying back and letting Julius take the jump shot, which we want him to do when he has a good look at it. And then when he doesn’t, he’s bringing it to the teeth of the defense” on drives.
Randle is shooting a shaky 40.3%, particularly poor for someone with only 18 three-point shots. He is last among the 21 power forwards with enough field goals to qualify for accuracy leaders. Detroit’s Marcus Morris is 20th at 42.1%.
“We don’t have that much time to really work on it like we want to,” Scott said. “We can’t change it until really the summertime when we can spend tons and tons of hours really trying to work on the mechanical part of it. We’re not going to change it right now at this particular point. I think it would be useless.”
Larry Nance Jr. has shown much better touch than Randle since replacing him in the starting lineup 19 games ago, continually hitting midrange jumpers and earning praise from Scott.
Nance does not have enough field goals to qualify for league leaders but is shooting 54%, which would place him at the top of the NBA’s power forwards. Denver’s Kenneth Faried is shooting 53.4%.
“He really does have three-point range. He won’t probably take one unless the clock is running down, but I have a lot of confidence in him when he shoots the ball.”
Kobe Bryant is questionable for Tuesday’s game against New Orleans because of a strained right Achilles’ tendon that kept him out Sunday against Utah.
“He seems to respond well from rest and treatment, so we’ll just have to wait and see,” Scott said.
D’Angelo Russell (sprained ankle) and Brandon Bass (scratched cornea) are expected to play.
LAKERS VS. NEW ORLEANS PELICANS
When: Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. PST.
Where: Staples Center.
On the air: TV: TWC SportsNet, TWC Deportes; Radio: 710, 1330.
Records: Lakers 8-31, Pelicans 11-25.
Record vs. Pelicans (2014-15): 0-4.
Update: Anthony Davis, who is listed as questionable for Tuesday’s game, is averaging 22.8 points and 10.8 rebounds, but the Pelicans are underachieving after making the playoffs last season. They have dropped three consecutive games, including a 114-111 overtime loss Sunday to the Clippers. Davis did not play against the Clippers because of a back injury. A year ago, the Pelicans swept the Lakers in the season series for the first time since their franchise began play in 2002-03.