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Pelicans’ Julius Randle throws subtle shade at the Lakers

Julius Randle

Julius Randle is starting a new chapter of his career with the New Orleans Pelicans. But he may still have the Los Angeles Lakers on the mind.

This comes off as a thinly veiled jab at the Los Angeles Lakers.

His defense was widely criticized in Los Angeles, but he’s planning on changing the perception in New Orleans. If he hadn’t done a defensive skill drill in four years, that makes the Lakers look bad.

But then again, quotes are often taken out of context. Perhaps Randle only meant to play up his own commitment¬†to improving his defense. Maybe he’s thrilled with the work he’s putting in with Pelicans assistant Darren Erman. It’s possible that he simply misspoke.

Although it’s possible that he’s been listening to the critics in Los Angeles for the past four years. He heard complaints about his defense and now that he’s leaving the Lakers, he’s airing them out for how they handled his defensive development.

Regardless, Randle’s defensive improvement is something to watch next season. The 23-year-old has seen steady improvement over each of his first four seasons. Most of that improvement has come on the offensive end, but he certainly has the physical tools to become a terrific defender.

He’s strong enough to bang with any big in the league down low and he has enough quickness and agility to hang with quicker guards when he’s forced to switch. With Randle, it will come down to consistency on that end. He’s always had the ability to become a lockdown defender.

Maybe that will finally happen in New Orleans.