'Phenomenal' Randle has Lakers excited about his potential

Julius Randle had 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting, five rebounds, four assists and three steals on Tuesday against the Jazz. Jay Metzger/NBAE via Getty Images

HONOLULU -- The Julius Randle that the Los Angeles Lakers hoped to see last season was on full display Tuesday night.

The 2014 No. 7 overall draft pick who broke his leg in his NBA debut a year ago pushed the ball up the floor and handled it like a speedy guard, despite his 6-foot-9, 250-pound frame.

The former Kentucky standout pounded his way to the rim using brute strength and his quick feet.

And he threw down several dunks, one of which came on the fast break and made Jim Buss, the Lakers' part-owner and executive vice president of basketball operations, leap from his courtside seat, throw his balled fists into the air and cheer.

Randle finished with 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting, five rebounds, four assists and three steals in 26 minutes in the Lakers' 117-114 preseason overtime loss to the Utah Jazz at the University of Hawaii at Manoa's Stan Sheriff Center.

Afterward, praise poured in from Randle's teammates, especially Kobe Bryant.

"He was excellent," Bryant said. "He played extremely hard. He played extremely well. He put the ball on the floor, he made plays, attacked the rim, offensive glass, moved his feet defensively. He was very sharp."

Randle looked especially sharp after grabbing the ball on the defensive end and then pushing it up the court on several occasions.

"It's not normal to see a guy that size move his feet so well and have such quick hands and be able to push the ball on the break ..." Bryant said. "It's pretty phenomenal."

Any comparisons come to mind?

"He's Lamar Odom in a Zach Randolph body," Bryant said.

Lakers center Roy Hibbert took it one step further.

"Julius is an animal," Hibbert said. "He's the future of this team. He's the future face of the NBA. That boy can play. The things that he does at his size, dribbling the ball up the court, dunking. The sky is the limit. I've never seen anybody like him."