100 miles and running.
That’s what life’s been like for Orlando Magic point guard
Chasson Randle since he signed a two-way contract with the team a
month ago, in a wild succession of events over a small period of
Originally arriving to the Orlando G League Bubble as a member
of the OKC Blue under the Thunder umbrella, Randle’s stay at the
ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex was much more short-lived than
others. Following a 22-point performance in a close loss to the G
League Ignite, Randle and the Blue were set to take on the Canton
Charge on Feb. 14.
Preparing to take his pregame nap, he got a call from his agent,
Darrell Comer. Randle found out that he would be playing for the
Magic. He had the option to suit up one more time for OKC, but was
suggested not to do so in order to avoid the risk of injury.
“Initially I was surprised because I knew they had just signed
Frank Mason and I hadn't heard of any injuries that he had,” Randle
told BasketballNews.com in an exclusive phone interview. “I was
grateful that another opportunity was coming my way and was excited
and didn't end up taking my pregame nap. It was pretty cool to get
Despite his new affiliation, Randle didn’t spend any time with
the Lakeland Magic before joining the big club. So no, he didn’t
get any rings or hardware when the team took home the G League
title last week.
“I had spoke with one of their assistant coaches when I was
leaving the bubble and when I was coming to the team, and he was
like, ‘I hope we don't have to see you,’” Randle said with a laugh.
“I'm glad they came out with the victory in the championship and I
won't take any credit. I couldn't do that.”
Prior to latching on with Orlando, the last time Randle stepped
foot on an NBA floor was March 10, 2020 for the Golden State
Warriors. Nearly a year later, he was back in the Association, and
it didn’t take long for him to find that out. In his first game,
Randle was assigned the task of guarding his former teammate
Derrick Rose. The next night? Stephen Curry.
“It's like that was my moment of, 'Hey, you've got two of the
league's best point guards ever in front of you. We're back,'”
“I think first, it's just realizing that it's a process.
Everything is not going to go perfect. Control the things that I
can control, and that's my energy and effort and intensity out
there on the floor, and then following the team's game plan. I
think once you can hone in on those things, the basketball just
becomes the basketball. You play instinctively and try to make
plays when you're out there. That's kind of how I approached
In 11 games with the Magic, Randle has recorded multiple assists
in eight contests, including five or more dimes in three of those.
Despite not getting too many touches, he ranks fourth in the NBA in
assist-to-usage rate with a 1.51 ratio, per Cleaning The
Remember, this is a man who was just thrown into the fire right
away -- leaving the G League bubble, getting acclimated to a new
organization, figuring out a fresh system with different plays and
teammates -- all the while having to abide by the league’s strict
health and safety protocols.
“First, it's like, 'Just play hard man, and let the rest take
care of itself.' Just trying to pick up everything and learn,”
Randle said. “It's the NBA though, this is a job. You have to be
ready, prepared, and take advantage of every opportunity you
“Even [during the] All-Star break I was able to catch my breath
a little bit. But I stayed in Orlando, and the way that things were
set up with us having to test every day, I didn't want to risk
anything, so I stayed here and got some extra work in with the
staff and stuff. So it was cool. Very fortunate man, just blessed
to be in this position.”
Randle’s teammate and fellow member of the Orlando guard room,
Michael Carter-Williams, can’t say enough about how ready Randle
has been for the team.
"He's definitely taken full advantage of his opportunity,”
Carter-Williams told BasketballNews.com, following an interview for his own
profile. “He got called up at a time where he was gonna be
playing right away. He was ready, he was in shape. He picked up the
plays quickly, spent time learning them at a fast pace. He's been
great for us, and we're gonna continue to need him. You can just
tell before he came in that his preparation was great, so I'm glad
all that's paying off for him.”
"I'm definitely grateful for his comments,” Randle said in
response to Carter-Williams’ praise. “He's been super helpful for
me [with] just learning the system, what the coach wants from his
point guards and the way that they want to play. He's helped me
with the plays and everything, so he's been great for me. I mean,
for him to be Rookie of the Year and then to go through what he's
been through in his career, it just shows what type of player, what
type of person he is, his determination. He's turned himself into
one of the best defenders in the league man, and he's definitely
somebody that I pay attention to and watch in practice and try to
pick up little things from. He sets the blueprint for what a guard
can be defensively. He's great."
Randle and Carter-Williams are both playing extended minutes as
Orlando continues to be on the mend. From the moment the season
tipped off, the organization has been riddled with injuries,
particularly to the upstart young backcourt of Markelle Fultz and
Cole Anthony. Such setbacks have decimated the roster and led to
ever-changing rotations. Whether it’s been due to the scheduling or
demand of the season, Randle admits he’s never been in a scenario
with this many of his teammates sidelined.
This would be a difficult situation to figure out for anybody on
that squad, so for somebody who’s spent a month there? It’s even
extra challenging. Randle is still studying the coverages that head
coach Steve Clifford has in place defensively, and he’s also got an
All-Star big man teammate in Nikola Vucevic that commands the ball
as the focal point of the offense.
“He demands a lot of attention,” said Randle, who once played
with a similar player in Joel Embiid when he was with the
Philadelphia 76ers in 2017. “The system here is set up to feed the
post and all of that. It wasn't an adjustment, but it was pretty
cool to have that as a weapon on your team.
“Just trying to figure out how I can best help him get the ball
and put him in positions. It doesn't matter where he's getting it,
he's getting a bucket. But as teams hone in on him and key on him,
just trying to make it a little bit easier on him and then spacing
the floor, like being an option for him as an outlet if he gets in
trouble and needs to kick it out. Being ready to shoot and knock
one down for him.”
Though Vucevic is doing everything he possibly can to contribute
to winning, he and the Magic are on a sizable skid, dropping eight
straight games and plummeting in the Eastern Conference standings.
It’s going to take more than one player to snap out of this
“I think the onus is gonna be on us to pull ourselves up out of
it. We've got to want it. We can't get used to this feeling,
losing,” Randle said. “It's not gonna be easy. Even with the
injuries, nobody's gonna feel sorry for us -- this is the NBA --
but it's gotta be us. We've just gotta hone in on the little things
we need to defensively and continue to play the way we need to play
offensively. Take care of the ball, and we'll be good.
“I think getting guys back will be helpful and hopefully, we can
make some type of push towards giving ourselves a chance to play
for something at the end of the season."
Ask Randle about how he’s performed since he made the jump to
Orlando and he’ll say he’s done pretty well. He’ll tell you that
he’s showcased his ability to shoot the ball and run the offense by
getting others involved. Defensively, he believes his intensity has
been there and that he's been in the right positions to guard the
ball. While it sounds cliche, he wants to improve in every facet in
every single game.
“It's not one thing that I don't think I can do better. I'm the
type of guy that doesn't want to settle,” Randle said. “I look to
stay aggressive on both ends. I think that's gonna be key,
especially with the attention that some of our players are getting
on the offensive end. And then defensively, just making sure that
I'm a presence. That's something that I want to continue to do. I'm
excited for [this week].
“Each game is like a new opportunity. It's like a new life. You
play video games, you might win a round or you might lose a round,
but you get that new life and an opportunity to do it again. I'm
excited for the rest of what's ahead."
Randle began this basketball season with OKC in the G League,
teaming up with promising talents such as Aleksej Pokusevski, Moses
Brown and Omer Yurtseven (“Their potential and upside is
tremendous, especially with the size and length they have as
players,” he adds). Randle is grateful that the Thunder presented
him with an opportunity to get back into the gym, work out with
talented players and be a part of a positive environment.
He even got the chance to take on top-projected 2021 NBA Draft
Class prospects in Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga (“Their talent
spoke for itself...they definitely proved their worth," he
But as we make our way into spring, Randle has returned to the
highest level for his fifth stint in the NBA. Recently, the league
announced amendments to its two-way contract rules, allowing
players who are those deals to play an unlimited number of games in
the 2020-21 season.
Randle is included in that field of players. Two-way contracts
are only a partial guarantee financially, and sometimes, the same
goes for a roster spot. With the trade deadline approaching, and
when the team gets healthier, things could change. Only time will
Whatever the case turns out to be for him personally, Randle
won’t change the way he handles his business.
"The way I live my life man, I never really bank on anything. I
don't ever just want to relax and feel complacent,” Randle said. “I
know that every day I have to prove myself. I'll just have to
continue to play hard and be myself and try to contribute in any
way I can to help this team win games, and the rest will take care
“Whether it's a guaranteed contract, non-guaranteed, whatever, I
just try to keep my head down, work hard, be me, play a certain way
and let the chips fall where they may."