Lakers star Kobe Bryant on mentoring rookie Julius Randle: “It means he can’t [bleep] it up”

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error In their hopes to motivate Lakers rookie forward Julius Randle, both Kobe Bryant and coach Byron Scott shared he could become an NBA All-Star if he mimics Bryant’s work ethic.If not? Randle will just become another forgotten NBA player.“It means he can’t [bleep] it up.” Bryant explained in more vulgar terms.Bryant then offered another punchline. This one came at the expense of ESPN recently ranking him as the NBA’s 40th best player after appearing in only six games last season because of overlapping injuries to his left Achilles tendon and left ankle. “If you [bleep] this up, you’re a really big idiot,” Bryant said. “ESPN are idiots, but you’re really a big idiot if you manage to [bleep] this up.”It appears those lessons have already filtered down toward Randle. In the Lakers’ preseason win Sunday against Utah, Randle offered his most complete game with eight points on 4-of-8 shooting and five rebounds in 20 minutes off the bench.Randle sank mid-range jumpers. He displayed sharper defensive awareness. He showed off his ball-handling abilities. Bryant and Scott have implored Randle to excel in all these areas.“It’s for me to mess it up,” Randle said with a laugh as he recalled Bryant’s message. “Kobe said you can’t mess it up unless you want to. I intentionally have to mess things up.”The Lakers have expected plenty from Randle after selecting him seventh overall in this year’s draft. Through three weeks of training camp, Scott has constantly critiqued Randle, including his conditioning, court awareness and defensive effort. center_img After Randle’s latest performance, Scott provided his strongest endorsement yet.“We’re hoping that we get this type of effort and energy every single night,” Scott said. “That’s what he has to do to continue to grow as a basketball player.“Obviously he has it in him and a world of talent. It’s a matter of him having that consistent effort every night.”Randle has taken Scott’s criticisms in stride. Randle took Scott’s praise the same way.“I’m not worried about comments or anything,” Randle said. “I just want to do my job.”He pointed out he became used to playing under pressure as a freshman last season at the University of Kentucky, where he posted a nation-leading 24 double doubles. Randle also reported Wildcats coach John Calipari and associate head coach Kenny Payne recently implored him during his rookie hiccups to “keep fighting.”So when Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak recently asked Randle how he was holding up, Randle insisted not to worry.“Instead of being frustrated and down when my name is called, I’m excited and ready to go,” Randle said. “I’m ready to bring that energy and bring good vibes. My head is mentally in a good place.”Roster trimmingThe Lakers waived rookie guard Keith Appling and center Jeremy Tyler from their training camp roster. The Lakers currently have 17 players. They can hold a maximum of 15 players once the regular season starts Oct. 28 against the Houston Rockets at Staples Center.Schedule changeThe Lakers did not practice Monday and used that day for players to rest and receive treatment. This could hurt the availability of Jeremy Lin for Tuesday night’s exhibition against Phoenix at Staples Center. With Lin staying out for the past three games with a sprained left ankle, Scott wants Lin to compete in a full-court scrimmage to prove he can cut and change direction without any issues.last_img