New York Knicks‘ two-time All-Star Julius Randle only learned he would participate in the 3-point contest after their last game before the All-Star break — a big road win in Atlanta Wednesday night.
Randle was a late replacement for Portland Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons, who suffered an ankle injury earlier this week.
In a crowded field led by lights-out bombers Damian Lillard, Tyler Herro, Buddy Hield, and Kevin Huerter, Randle has the lowest odds of winning the event that also has Jayson Tatum, unorthodox shooter Tyrese Haliburton and Utah’s breakout star Lauri Markkanen.
So the question begging for an answer is, can Randle, a career 33.4 three-point shooter, crash the party?
“We’ll see, man. We’ll just have fun with it and see what happens,” Randle said during his Saturday’s media availability.
Randle added he’d practiced only once leading to the shootout.
The Knicks’ two-time All-Star isn’t the prototypical shooter. Despite attempting a career-high eight 3s per game this season, he’s only hitting them at a respectable 33.8 percent, way below the 36-percent league average.
But coming into the season, Randle worked on a quicker release as he prepared to become a volume shooter upon the advice of Knicks associate head coach Johnnie Bryant.
Since last year, Randle had three 8 3-point games, his career-high.
Randle is at his deadliest from the right elbow, hitting 45.5 percent, 10 percent above the league average this season. But for the rest of the three-point zone, he’s a below-average shooter.
The odds are stacked against Randle.
But no one saw his 2021 All-NBA season, in which he shot a career-high 41.4 percent from the three-point arc. He’d been written off after his dismal performance last season. Yet every time he’s being counted out, he’s always found a way to get back up.
So, again, can Randle defy the odds once more?
“We’ll see how it goes,” Randle said.
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