The New York Knicks‘ road to respectability got a much-needed shot in the arm after Julius Randle got his first All-Star nod.
Randle, the leader of the Knicks’ resurgence this season, was among the seven reserves voted by the coaches, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
â€œIt would mean a lot,â€ Randle said of the All-Star selection via zoom call with reporters after the Knicksâ€™ shootaround on Tuesday morning.
“My goal was never just to play in the NBA. I always felt that I would get there. I just wanted to be the best player I could possibly be and reach my potential. And I try to push myself every day to do so. It would definitely be a milestone.â€
The selection is a validation of the new Knicks’ culture laid out by new team president Leon Rose and first-year coach Tom Thibodeau.
The seven-year forward constantly faced double-teams, finally getting the respect he’s been longing for since coming into the league as a lottery pick (seventh overall) in 2014.
â€œI think I get that validation how they play me every night. With the double teams,â€ Randle said.
â€œHow they try to game plan. All that type of stuff. Obviously the All-Star nod would be amazing. Every player strives to do that, or whatever the case may be.â€
Thibodeau pointed out that Randle’s impact on winning would weigh heavily. He was right.
Randle is having a career season leading the Knicks to a 15-16 record entering Tuesday night’s game against the Golden State Warriors.
Roughly 2,000 fans will celebrate and cheer for Randle and the Knicks when they take the floor at The Garden, marking the first time it allows fans in New York arenas in almost a year.
Randle is averaging 23.2 points, shooting 41 percent from deep, 11.0 rebounds, 5.5 assists in 36.8 minutes, all career-highs.
He became the first All-Star selected from the Knicks since Kristaps Porzingis in 2018. Porzingis, though didn’t play in the game due to his ACL injury.
Barring any injury, Randle will be the first player to play in the mid-season classic since Carmelo Anthony in 2017.
Randle earned $945,000 for his selection, and he stands to double that if the Knicks reach the playoffs, according to ESPN’s Front Office Insider Bobby Marks.
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