Meet Julius Randle: The New Star on the Rise
Julius Randle has been one of the many surprises this NBA season. Not only is he the likely Most Improved Player of the Year, but he is also largely responsible for getting the New York Knicks back into playoff contention. After what many thought was going to be a career of wasted potential, the Kentucky product finally found an environment where he could thrive this season. Randle has gone from being a journeyman to a player a franchise can build around in the coming years.
Julius Randle: The New All-Star Flying Under Your Radar
Julius Randle: How He’s Turned His Career Around
If you remember, Randle was a high draft pick of the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2014-15 season. Unfortunately, he suffered a nasty shin injury in his first-career game. This was a devastating blow for a young Lakers squad who was desperately trying to rebuild around an aging Kobe Bryant at the time. Randle could never quite get right in the city of angels. As a result, he found himself spending a season with the New Orleans Pelicans. However, this was the season when we started to see shimmers of Randle’s potential as he came away with totals of 21.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game. This was only the beginning of Julius Randle blossoming into an All-Star.
How Randle Has Turned the New York Knicks Around
Fast forward two years later and Julius Randle is now a first-time All-Star, likely Most Improved Player of the Year, and the young leader of a surprising New York Knicks team destined for the postseason. Not only that, he and veteran point guard, Derrick Rose have shown that they can hold their own against the NBA’s elite this season. Randle himself has had a 50-point game and held his own against the Brooklyn Nets superteam, New York’s arch-rival.
On the season, Randle is averaging 24.2 points, 5.9 assists, and 10.3 rebounds per game as of May 3, 2021. His play has led by example as guys such as Immanuel Quickley have followed suit and becoming a nice surprise in this league as well. Make no mistake, the New York Knicks would not be one of the biggest surprises this year were it not for the perseverance of Julius Randle.
It is amazing to think that we are talking about Julius Randle as one of the stars of this league today. Not after the injury that he suffered in his first-ever NBA outing or his rather underwhelming sophomore campaign. For the first time in about five to seven years, the New York Knicks have a true beacon of hope for the future. A legitimate All-Star that they can build around. They have already taken some nice first steps in drafting Quickley and trading with the Detroit Pistons to bring Rose back to the Garden. Now, it is time to see just how far Randle can elevate his game now that the spotlight is going to be on him in the coming years.
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images