Tom Thibodeau makes case for Julius Randle to be an All-Star

The pairing between the New York Knicks and Julius Randle didn’t look like it would last very long. The Knicks signed Randle to a three-year, $62.1 million deal in NBA free agency in 2019. By the end of the pandemic shortened season, it looked as if Randle would be run out of town.

Julius Randle’s first season in orange and blue couldn’t have gone much worse. The team lost, a lot, going 21-45. He struggled on the court as well, forcing the action, trying to live up to his contract, and being the go-to guy for his new team.

The offseason of 2020 had to have been a difficult one for Randle. Fans couldn’t wait for the team to trade him away. Once Obi Toppin, another power forward, was selected fans counted the days until a Randle trade came to fruition. Instead of sulking, Randle put in work during the offseason and came ready to play in Tom Thibodeau’s first season as head coach.

Fast forward to now. It is mid-February and Knicks fans are praising Julius Randle. He is in the midst of a career-year, putting stats that no one would have predicted coming into the season. Randle deserves a lot of credit. The former Kentucky product came into training camp in great shape, ready to perform and the results have been excellent. Having a competent head coach has also helped.

Tom Thibodeau and his staff have done a wonderful job getting the most out of the roster they were given. While the team has some holes, they play hard every night and are led by Randle, whom Thibs believes should be an All-Star this season.

“Absolutely,” Thibodeau said when asked if Randle was an All-Star. “And it’s not just what he’s done statistically, but the impact on winning I think. He’s making other people better. He’s played an all-around game, strong on both sides of the ball. He’s played an unselfish game. He’s doing it in a number of different ways. He’s playing multiple positions. … He’s doing it all. But the most important thing is the impact that he’s having on winning, and hopefully it’ll be recognized. But I know there’s a great appreciation by his teammates and his coaches, the organization, certainly our fans, for what he’s bringing to our team.”

The impact on winning is the biggest thing Randle has provided this season. New York is currently in 6th place in the Eastern Conference with a record of 14-15. They are only 0.5 games out of 4th place, which would mean hosting a first-round series in the NBA playoffs.

That, in addition to his statistics, should be enough to get him into the All-Star game. He added another bullet to his already lengthy resume of being an All-Star with his performance against the Atlanta Hawks on Monday evening.

Randle poured in 44 points, one shy of his career-high, in a truly dominating performance. The Hawks had no answer for him as he scored from every level, grabbed nine rebounds and handed out five assists.

Tom Thibodeau isn’t the only one praising Randle’s performance and that he should be an All-Star; his teammates believe so as well. Following the game against the Hawks, Theo Pinson, RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley intervened during his post-game press conference saying he is an All-Star as well.

Hopefully, fans and people around the NBA are also taking notice. What Randle has accomplished this season is truly remarkable and he deserves to be rewarded with an All-Star nomination.

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