The Knicks may be in the midst of a full-fledged rebuild, but there’s no denying that the roster features some intriguing talent. The latest evidence of that is the news that Julius Randle has been added to the USA Basketball training camp roster for the upcoming FIBA World Cup.
Before we dive into everything, let’s first rejoice for a second. Hooray!
Randle’s inclusion was first reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic, and then confirmed by Ian Begley of SNY. He’ll now have the chance to compete for a spot on the actual Team USA, which will ultimately be whittled down to 12 players. Currently, there are 17 players that will fight for those 12 spots.
Here are those 17 players, per CBS Sports:
Harrison Barnes, Andre Drummond, Kemba Walker, Kevin Love, Kyle Lowry, Khris Middleton, Myles Turner, Kyle Kuzma, Brook Lopez, Paul Milsap, Jayson Tatum, P.J. Tucker, Donovan Mitchell, Marcus Smart, Thaddeus Young, Jaylen Brown, and Randle.
Some of those names could eventually fall off the board, as players have been taking themselves out of consideration at a rapid pace in recent days.
Indeed, naysayers will grumble that Randle only received the honor after a whopping nine players bowed out this month alone. And look, it’s true that Randle’s addition comes in the wake of Zion Williamson, Bradley Beal, CJ McCollum., Damian Lillard, Demar DeRozan, Tobias Harris, Anthony Davis, James Harden and Eric Gordon withdrawing their names from consideration.
But it’s also true that Randle is considered to be among the top of the not quite top-tier NBA players. Not bad for a 24-year-old who is hopefully about to enter his prime right as he joins the Knicks.
Randle will have an opportunity to showcase his abilities to the entire world if he can make the final roster, which will be selected by head coach Gregg Popovich and is expected to be announced on August 17. The FIBA World Cup will take place in China between August 31 and September 15.
Randle’s abilities, by the way, helped him average 21.4 points on 52.4% from the field in 30.6 minutes per game last year for New Orleans Pelicans. Additionally, he grabbed 8.7 rebounds and posted 3.1 assists per game, and shot a career best 73.1% from the free throw line while taking a career high 6.7 attempts.
Randle previously participated in USA basketball when he was named to the 2016 USA Select Team that trained with the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team. Select Team, eh? That sounds familiar.
Oh, that’s right! Mitchell Robinson was recently named to this year’s Select Team, which means the Blockness Monster will get some quality time with new teammate Randle as the U.S. basketball program practices and such in Las Vegas next month.
All this is to say that the Knicks now have two players who have a chance to make the 2020 Olympic team. That doesn’t mean they will make it, but both Randle and Robinson are officially under consideration.
Robinson is sure to show out as a member of the Select Team, as his talent is simply undeniable. Randle, meanwhile, definitely has a legitimate chance to make some noise when you consider the rest of the 17 players who will be competing for a spot on the team that will participate in the FIBA World Cup.