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All Knicks Fans Should Be Able To Rally Behind Julius Randle

All Knicks Fans Should Be Able To Rally Behind Julius Randle

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Julius Randle #30 of the New York Knicks reacts against the Atlanta Hawks during game four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at State Farm Arena on May 30, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia.
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

 

New York Knicks forward Julius Randle has enjoyed something of a rollercoaster career through his first seven season in the NBA.

After being the seventh overall selection in the 2014 NBA Draft, Randle played just one game as a rookie for the Los Angeles Lakers.

A few years later, Randle signed a one-year deal with the New Orleans Pelicans, but he didn’t truly find his footing in the league until he arrived in New York.

In his second year with the Knicks, the 6-foot-8 forward finally earned his first career All-Star berth.

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He helped guide New York to the postseason for the first time since 2013.

And although last season’s playoff run ultimately ended in disappointment, a 4-1 series loss to the Atlanta Hawks, Knicks fans can take solace in the fact that they once again have a frontline player to lead their team.

 

Randle A Knick For The Foreseeable Future

This offseason, the team and Randle agreed to a four-year, $117 million contract extension that will potentially keep Randle in New York through 2026.

Randle’s remarkable campaign provided Knicks fans with plenty of hope.

In addition to his All-Star selection, Randle won the league’s Most Improved Player award and earned an All-NBA second-team berth.

The 26-year-old flourished under head coach Tom Thibodeau, averaging career highs in points (24.1), rebounds (10.2), and assists per game (6.0).

He made a career-high 41.1 percent of his three-point attempts last season, and set career marks in several other statistical categories as well.

The evolution of Randle’s ability as a shooter and ball-handler helped the Knicks target specific offseason upgrades for the offense like Evan Fournier and Kemba Walker.

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Both Fournier and Walker provide New York with capable three-point shooters, and Walker stands as a particularly exciting pick-and-roll partner for Randle.

Not only can Randle screen for Walker, as well as Immanuel Quickley and Derrick Rose, but the team can use inverted pick-and-roll play as well.

Having Walker be the screener for Randle, who’s a capable ball handler in his own right, will leverage both players’ offensive skill set.

 

Randle’s New Deal Focused On Success

Baked into Randle’s contract extension are bonuses for All-Star appearances.

There are also incentives for All-Defensive team berths and leading the Knicks to the playoffs.

The Knicks sport only six playoff appearances since 2001, and only one of those berths saw the team make it to the second round.

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Randle opted to sign the extension this offseason to provide the franchise with financial flexibility moving forward.

But the versatile forward has plenty to build upon in his third season playing in Madison Square Garden.

In addition to the career-highs in those counting statistics, Randle also proved to be one of the most valuable players in the league when considering some of the advanced metrics.

Randle ranked tied for ninth in the NBA in Value Over Replacement Player (VORP).

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His 3.8 VORP put him in the same range as Kawhi Leonard (3.9), Joel Embiid (3.7), and Chris Paul (3.7).

In a piece published on the Players’ Tribune, Randle admitted he was proud to be a Knick.

He has embraced the young players on the team in RJ Barrett, Quickley, and Obi Toppin, and has stepped forward as a leader.

So there’s no doubt Knicks fans can rally around Randle.



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