The New York Knicks are coming off an impressive victory of the Dallas Mavericks on Friday evening and are gearing up to take on the New Orleans Pelicans for the second time in three games on Sunday afternoon. Thankfully, the Knicks are on a roll, thanks to their esteemed leader Julius Randle.
Against Dallas, Randle posted 44 points and 10 rebounds, showcasing why heâ€™s one of the best players in the NBA, a situation that has developed rather sporadically. Nobody expected Randle to be as consistent and dominant as heâ€™s been this season, but a change in physical training and a shift in mindset has given him all the tools to be virtually unguardable.
Julius’s teammates and even head coach have sung his praise the past few weeks, going as far as to say he should be on the All-NBA team. So far this season, Randle is averaging career highs in points with 23.6, assists (6.0), total rebounds (10.6), and three-point percentage (.410). To put it into perspective, Randle shot .277 from downtown last year on 3.6 attempts per game, shooting an astronomical .410 over 5.1 attempts.
The Knicks star deserves recognition for his performance this year:
Randle shouldnâ€™t only win the Most Improved Player of the Year award, but he should be considered a bonafide star in the NBA. His next best season came in 2019 with the New Orleans Pelicans, when he averaged 30.6 minutes per game. Heâ€™s averaging a career-high 37.2 minutes, barely taking a rest as he is needed to score points and open up shots for his teammates.
In fact, I donâ€™t think it is a stretch to believe that Randle has played a significant part in the development of RJ Barrett, drawing attention, allowing him to take open shots, and increase his confidence levels.
The influence of Randle has had an impact on the entire team and listening to the way that Obi Toppin talks about the veteran, and head coach Tom Thibodeau praises his consistency, it is time we recognize just how amazing this turnaround has been. He went from being a trade candidate prior to this season to an indispensable player who will likely have a long career in New York.