The accolades keep coming for Julius Randle following his finest professional season to date, with the NBA announcing late Tuesday night that the power forward has been named to the All-NBA Second Team.
The honor is significant, so don’t let the fact that the Knicks flamed out in the playoffs dampen the delight. Randle is the 11th player in Knicks history to make All-NBA Second Team, joining an illustrious list that includes Patrick Ewing, Willis Reed, Richie Guerin, Carl Braun, Walt Frazier, Carmelo Anthony, Dave DeBusschere, Harry Gallatin, Dick McGuire and Amar’e Stoudemire.
Considering his remarkable regular season, is it disappointing that Randle didn’t earn First Team honors? Not really. Look at the teams. The competition is fierce.
2020-21 All-NBA teams:— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 16, 2021
First: Nikola Jokic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, Kawhi Leonard
Second: Chris Paul, Damian Lillard, Joel Embiid, Julius Randle, LeBron James
Third: Kyrie Irving, Bradley Beal, Rudy Gobert, Jimmy Butler, Paul George
Randle led an incredible turnaround for the Knicks this year. After finishing last season 24 games under .500 (21-45), New York shocked the world with a stupendous season that ended 10 games over .500 (41-31). The big man posted career highs in numerous per-game categories, including points (24.1), rebounds (10.2), assists (6), three-point percentage (41%), free throw percentage (81%) and minutes (37.6).
He scored 40-plus three times, 30-plus 15 times, had six triple doubles and 41 double doubles. He led the NBA in total minutes while only missing one game (against the Milwaukee Bucks in March due to a right thigh contusion). He made the All-Star team for the first time and won the Most Improved Player Award. He finished 8th in MVP voting, receiving one third-place vote, two fourth-place votes and nine fifth-place votes. For goodness’ sake, he nabbed a few votes for the All-Defensive Second Team.
Over the course of the last 20 games of the regular season, the Knicks went 16-4 and secured the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference and therefore home court advantage in the first round, with Randle averaging 27 points on 44% shooting and 41% from three, plus 8.8 rebounds and 6.2 assists.
It really was a season for the ages, especially after he earned the title of most frustrating Knick the previous season. Randle certainly struggled in the playoffs and appeared overwhelmed, both by the moment and the swarming defense of Atlanta, yet he still posted 18 points, 11.6 boards and 4 assists per game.
If the Knicks are smart, they’ll lock him up this offseason. They can offer him something along the lines of four years, $106 million. He’s only 26-years-old, and he bounced back from a difficult 2019-20 to have the best season of his career. How do you think he intends to respond to his playoff struggles?
Randle is a bedrock of the foundation New York is building. His selection to the All-NBA Second Team is just the latest evidence of that in a long list of proof Randle has provided all season. So congrats, Julius. You helped make it cool to be a Knicks fan for the first time in eight years, and the second time in 20 years. Maybe next year, you’ll make the All-NBA First Team.