I guess we’re going to have to talk about Julius Randle. I don’t wanna talk about him, and you don’t wanna hear about him, but he’s still on the Knicks, and will probably play a significant role on next season’s team.
To the man’s credit, he has shown up in force during the Knicks’ weird COVID camp. Many of the vets who participated in the individual workouts did not stay around for the quarantined group practices, but Randle has been there the whole time. Kenny Payne, his former coach at Kentucky, has been working with Randle and the other big men.
Head coach Tom Thibodeau has gone out of his way to praise Randle during his press conferences. Here’s what he had to say about Randle following Tuesday’s practice.
Tom Thibodeau noted that Julius Randle came to NY early to work with Knick coaches before Phase 1 individual workouts began last month. Thibodeau said Randle arrived in great shape and is a 'pro's pro.' 'Having that type of leadership is important to our team," Thibodeau said.— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) September 29, 2020
I’m sure Randle’s a nice enough guy, but he never struck me as the leader type last season. But who the hell knows?
Randle came into last season in tremendous shape as well, and we know how that went. In fairness, however, he was coached by David Fizdale, who fed into all of Randle’s worst ball-dominating impulses. He was better under Mike Miller, though it still seemed like he and Elfrid Payton were their own two-man squad on offense. Payton almost certainly won’t be back, so whoever the point guard is will have to keep Randle involved while no neglecting RJ Barrett and the other Knicks on the court.
Hopefully Thibs — with help from Kenny Payne — is the coach to unlock Randle’s potential.