Julius Randle had a solid rookie debut Monday night, scoring 10 points with eight rebounds in the Lakers’ 98-95 victory over the Denver Nuggets in their preseason opener.
While Coach Byron Scott was happy with some of what Randle accomplished on the floor, he would like to see more from the rookie.
“He’s got to do a better job of setting screens,” said Scott. “He’s got to do a better job of getting up and down the floor. He does that in spurts.
“The biggest thing with him right now is that he has to get in better shape. He’s in good shape but he has to get in great shape.”
Scott has held a vigorous training camp, pushing his players to try to make the Lakers one of the best-conditioned teams in league.
“When you’re not in great shape and you get tired, you lose focus, it’s that simple,” said Scott. “It’s just a matter of getting him in great shape.”
During the summer, the Lakers held Randle back slightly to make sure an old high school foot injury was fully healed.
The rookie power forward felt comfortable in his first game, which he said was a lot easier than the last week at Lakers training camp.
“Practice is way, way harder,” Randle said.
The Lakers had a light practice Tuesday, primarily watching film. Afterward, Randle and the team’s young players (along with veteran Ronnie Price) walked through the team’s offense.
The team said Wesley Johnson, who had a minor left knee injury Monday, has improved and is expected to go through the full-contact practice scheduled Wednesday.
The Lakers will host the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center on Thursday night.