The New York Knicks arenâ€™t wasting any time building chemistry and preparing for the 2021-22 season. With training camp about three weeks away, the team has been scrimmaging against one another to spark their competitive spirits and put their best foot forward as preseason prepares to begin.
All-Star power forward Julius Randle is looking to build off a strong 2020 season, where he set career records in points, rebounds, and assists. He has been working this off-season diligently to improve his shooting fundamentals and become an even more lethal scorer for a team that just presented him with a four-year, $117 million contract extension.
Randle commented on the team’s inter-scrimmages, which have been extremely competitive and intense:
â€œItâ€™s guys just going after each other, competing,â€ Randle told Ian Begley of SNY.
â€œThatâ€™s our thing,â€ Randle stated. â€œWe want to compete at the highest level.â€
It is exciting to see the team so energetic about the upcoming season, as the front office went out and signed Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier to contribute more offense toward a team a struggle during the postseason.
Â Itâ€™s competitive, man, competitive. Thatâ€™s our thing. We want to compete at the highest level. Itâ€™s guys just going after each other, competing. Obviously, you see they got me in the eye (Randle points to a butterfly bandage over his left eye). It was just competitive. Guys are showing up to work every day excited to (compete), so itâ€™s fun.
The lack of physicality inside was detrimental to their success, especially against a strong Atlanta Hawks team that featured Clint Capela in a paint. The return of Mitchell Robinson should contribute heavily toward an increased presence down low, but their fantastic three-point shooters will also be impactful. Randle, who shot 41% from three-point range last season, will be lucky if he replicates that same percentage. For comparison sake, Randle saw an increase of 14% shooting from beyond the arc compared to his 2019-20 season.
Ultimately, improvement is on the minds of each and every player on the roster, and seeing them be so proactive before camp even begins is a great sign of whatâ€™s to come.