Julius Randle fits perfectly into Pelicans’ scheme with his versatility

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The New Orleans Pelicans have now won three straight and five of their last six after their 140-126 bashing of the San Antonio Spurs Monday night at the Smoothie King Center.

Anthony Davis scored a game-high 29 points, finishing six points shy of 10,000 for his career, but someone else stole the spotlight.

Julius Randle messed around a got a triple-double with 21 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists in only 25 minutes.

Randle became only the third player in franchise history to post a triple-double off of the bench (Tim Frazier, Tyreke Evans) and, according to NBA.com, he is the just fourth player since 1983-84 to register a triple-double in 25 minutes or less of playing time, joining Markelle Fultz (2018), Russell Westbrook (2014) and Fat Lever (1987).

“I really did think that he played great,” said Head Coach Alvin Gentry. “Not just from the standpoint of being a facilitator. He took advantage of matchups to have a triple double…Really played with a lot of force. His rebounding was great. His play making was great. He had a really good solid game.”

Gentry’s post-game comments could be cut and pasted to most of his big man’s efforts thus far.

Anthony Davis began his campaign for MVP during the off-season. Jrue Holiday’s for Defensive Player of the Year has been gaining momentum.

It’s now time to start talking about Julius Randle’s bid for Sixth Man of the Year.

Randle, an unanticipated steal for the Pelicans this offseason, has proven to possibly be the biggest bargain in the NBA this season.

While playing a career-low 25.6 minutes per game, Randle is scoring a career-high 17.5 points each night.

The fifth-year bruiser is also putting up career highs in field goal percentage (.572), field goals made and attempted, free throws made and attempted, offensive rebounds, steals and blocked shots.

He is one of only three players in the league averaging 15 or more points and shooting better than 50 percent from the floor while playing fewer than 26 minutes per game.

Randle’s PER of 23.4 is nearly four points higher than last season’s 19.9 and more than six points higher than his 17.0 career average.

Randle may be a reserve on most nights but he prepares like a starter. His energy off the bench has been a welcomed jolt for a Pelicans team that doesn’t always get out of the gate with high intensity.

His physicality, his ability to create for others and his nose for the basketball are vital assets for the Pels.

With Davis, Randle, and Nikola Mirotić, New Orleans has potentially the NBA’s most dangerous front court.

There are only 10 players averaging more than 17 points, eight rebounds, and better than 48 percent shooting.

The Pelicans have three of them and Randle is the only reserve in the group.

Randle’s versatile skill set may be allowing the Pelicans to finally realize the vision they first saw in the pairing of Davis and DeMarcus Cousins. It’s a vision that ends in a championship.

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David Grubb

Sports 1280am host/CCS reporter

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David Grubb has more than a decade of experience in the sports industry. He began his career with KLAX-TV in Alexandria, La. and followed that up with a stint as an reporter and anchor with WGGB-TV in Springfield, Mass. After spending a few years away from the industry, David worked as sports information director for Southern University at New Orleans…

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