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Will Julius Randle benefit from Metta World Peace’s mentorship?

Photo Credit: Miguel Discart | Flickr

Julius Randle is gearing up to play in his first full NBA regular season. The 2015-16 campaign will be the first time NBA fans get a good look at the big man as a professional player.

Throughout the offseason, it was reported that veteran basketball player and one-time NBA champion Metta World Peace was mentoring Randle. The 35-year-old developed a relationship with Randle as a result of the two being around each other during summer workouts.

World Peace’s return to the Los Angeles Lakers organization led him to meet and mentor players on the team’s young roster, including Randle. The Lakers were so pleased with the relationship that had formed between World Peace and Randle that they signed World Peace to a one-year, nonguaranteed deal. Although World Peace’s spot on the final roster is not secure just yet, the deal does give him the opportunity to stick around and continue to develop a young player with potential.

The Lakers are a team in rebuilding mode and they need all the assistance they can get.

Will Randle benefit from World Peace’s mentorship and develop into the dominant player so many believe he can be in the league? Only time will tell.

Lakers fans are hoping for a best-case scenario: World Peace returns to the team that he once won a NBA championship with and succeeds in developing the next young star who is going to be vital to bringing the Lakers organization back to its days of postseason glory.

It is not a stretch to say that those hopes will come to fruition. Other young stars in the league have improved their game by training with a veteran.

Hall of Famer and two-time NBA champion Hakeem Olajuwon, for example, has worked with the likes of LeBron James and Dwight Howard. James and Howard both improved their game in the post after spending a summer being mentored by Olajuwon.

Like James and Howard, Randle was already a promising young star before meeting his mentor. He was a consensus top-five basketball prospect coming out of high school and continued to show off his impressive skill set at the college level. Randle at his best is a double-double machine at the power forward position.

Last season, however, Randle missed 81 out of 82 regular-season games due to a broken leg suffered in his first-ever NBA game. To add to the big man’s troubles, he showed some major rust during Summer League play earlier this offseason. Therefore, Randle has not yet gotten the opportunity to impress as a pro.

The stage is set for the former University of Kentucky Wildcat to begin creating his NBA legacy. Randle was the No. 7 overall pick in the highly touted 2014 NBA Draft. The Lakers selected the one-and-done Kentucky product with the belief that he would someday blossom into one of the league’s best players. Some NBA experts have considered Randle’s pro potential to mirror that of power forward Zach Randolph of the Memphis Grizzlies.

It is far too early to label the young player a bust. Up to this point in his playing career, Randle has still enjoyed a lot more successes than failures during his time in the national spotlight. His team is a young, inexperienced team with no immediate championship aspirations. Now is the time for Randle to learn from veteran leadership and his own inevitable mistakes.

Randle wants to achieve greatness at the pro level; he can still get there.  

Julius Randle was born on Nov. 29, 1994 in Dallas, Texas. He is 6-feet-9-inches tall. He weighs 250 pounds. He attended Prestonwood Christian Academy where he won three state titles. He is 20 years old.

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David A. Shelmon was born and raised in the Metro Detroit area. Currently, he is an aspiring journalist who focuses primarily on sports. Basketball, in particular, is his specialty. He has written for the likes of AXS.com, Examiner.com and SB Nation-affiliate Hustle Belt. He hopes to expand his writing experience by joining Sports Out West.
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