Two-time NBA All-Star, two-time All-NBA, Most Improved Player in 2021, and Dallas Legend, Julius Randle was a special guest on Paul George’s Podcast P on Monday. The two shared more than a bunch of interesting thoughts on a plethora of timely topics.
Randle, who (believe it or not) has been playing Knicks Basketball for four years now, spoke highly about his love for the city that hosts him and the challenges he has faced during his time with the team and around NYC.
“When I got to New York, I’d say first, first thing first, like 101, if you want like a lesson, don’t, don’t do thumbs-down,” Randle said. LOL. My man learned the lesson.
“Like, I did that—that didn’t work out,” he acknowledged. “Maybe that was my immaturity. But yeah, don’t... don’t do that. “
Despite some tough moments and ill-advised actions, though, Randle appreciates the lessons he has learned and the growth he has experienced.
"I knew [I was NBA bound] young... Until I was 10 or 11 [years old], I was always playing older kids... Then I played my age for the first time and I'm stronger, I'm faster... I'm like bro, what the hell is this?"— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) June 20, 2023
— Julius Randle
“Honestly, I love it. [New York City] made me the player I am today. It pushes me,” Randle said. “It all depends on how you look at it. It’s been tough on some people, and it’s been tough for me, it’s been tough on my family.“
Randle only moved his family to NYC before last season’s tip-off. Prior to that, they stayed in Dallas while JR was plying his trade on the East Coast shores.
“The hardest thing for me is my family. Right? Like, you know, the Garden is a different animal,” Randle started. “So it’s the hardest thing for me, my family, and my sons, both of my sons—Ky in particular, because he’s older,” he continued.
“But I love it, because it’s taught me so much more about myself. And as a player, figuring out what really matters, what doesn’t. It taught me a lot about who I am as a human,” Randle revealed.
In a soft tone, Ranle added “that sh-t [will] age you, though.” He explained: “It’s almost like being the president—you see them and they look great. And then four years later, they got the image, and they look old as hell. That’s how I feel right now.”
Despite the team’s second-round exit in the playoffs a few weeks ago, Randle had some kind words for the Knickerbocker faithful, and he actually believes the squad is closer to success than some folks out there might make you believe.
Speaking about the fans and the narrative out there talking about the team always struggling and being seriously cursed and hated in and out of town, the forward said: “That’s the craziest thing—if you look at it from a media perspective, you’ll vibe like, damn, it’s hard being there.” Randle has a different opinion, though, claiming that “I go on walks all the time around the city, and it’s so much love. The actual fans, the interaction face-to-face, it’s crazy how much love it is.”
Randle recognized New York “ain’t won sh-t, we got to the second round,” but he later acknowledged that from his experiences roaming Manhattan, he saw the fans being ”so appreciative.”
“So it’s love. You look elsewhere, you wouldn’t think it, but it’s cool. [The Knicks] ain’t won in 50 years, but that was my excitement of going there, that challenge, trying to win there. That was the biggest reason. That’s what drives me. We got a little taste of that as a team, so it’s like, how do we get better?”
Perhaps most interestingly, Randle told George that even though the Knicks crashed out of the playoffs in the second round getting kicked out easily by Miami, the fact that the No. 8 Heat reached the NBA Finals, showed “we’re not that far off.”
Julius Randle on Jalen Brunson: "…JB just made the game so much easier. I wasn't relied on every single possession…& that trust…"— New York Basketball (@NBA_NewYork) June 19, 2023
Paul George: "Was that quick?"
Ju: "…It was Day 1…"
PG: "Just chemistry"
Ju: "…The crazy thing about it is we can get a lot better…"
Randle took a moment to acknowledge the impact of his teammate, Jalen Brunson, on the Knicks' run toward a postseason berth and reaching the Eastern Conference Semifinals, praising him for making the game easier for him on the court.
“Maybe it’s just something about lefties. But as soon as we got on the court, I can speak for me. Hopefully [Brunson] said the same—he just made the game a million times easier for me. A million times,” Randle started. “I didn’t have to work to every single time down the possession. You know how that is. When you got to go get it every single possession, and then you on the other end, too.”
Randle emphasized the importance of having a balanced team with a mix of young talent and experienced players entering their prime. Now that he’s the veteran and leading voice in the locker room, Randle said that “being able to see things and seeing why things work is super helpful.”
Speaking about his injury woes in the past and the present, too, as he recovers from surgery, Randle said that “At this point, you’re gonna get the skills stuff, and you’re gonna continue to get better, but it’s the mind.” Randle revealed that he “watches a lot of basketball, but I’ve never been a film guy, so I’m doing things that I might not necessarily take the time to do.” Now that he can’t hit the court while donning the walking boot, he said that while he “can’t physically be out there,” he “mentally, I can put myself in those places and watch and learn.”
Randle kept on going, saying that “a lot of times with injuries, they suck.” He added that “the rehab and that stuff is awful, the process of it, but it’s the offseason for us, so it’s really giving me an opportunity just to slow down and digest everything from the whole year.”
The All-Star told George that he’s spent time in Los Angeles “in a hotel room,” while he “can’t do nothing, just looking outside, elevate [my leg].” He said that “it’s just me and my thoughts,” and that the process is “just giving me time to slow down and really reflect,” which he thinks has been “cool.”
Getting back to the Knicks’ season that was, Randle highlighted the competitive nature of the league and the need for continuous improvement. “We’re not that far off. That’s motivating for me in a sense, because in my mind, I’m like, how can I be the best version of myself to help the team win? So I go into the offseason, you know, you dissect that. But it’s everybody. We’ve got a great mixture of talent. We’ve got young dudes. We’ve got guys who are going into their prime. So we’ve got a great mixture of guys.”
Dissecting his own game, Randle said that “as an individual, I’m all about efficiency.” He even went the distance, name-dropping folks around the league by saying that “I look at [Paul George] or I look at a guy like for instance, Jimmy [Butler]. Jimmy, for me, is a great example of somebody who continues to get better. How does Jimmy go from, you know, being a 46% shooter to, what 53, 54%? More efficient, less shots, whatever it is.”
Julius Randle talking about his biggest takeaway individually, attacking the summer with structure & what players he studies. Talks about studying Paul George & Jimmy Butler because they are able to get better as they are in their 30s. Also talks about Jokic a lot on the pod. pic.twitter.com/W42wjoy9NA— Playoff P Basketball (@playoffpbball) June 19, 2023
Randle also praised the reigning champs Denver Nuggets’ star player, Nikola Jokic, and the new generation of Euro hoopers changing the NBA landscape.
“You’re not going to find any players like Jokic, but that’s what it’s going to turn into. Every position has become more scheme guard to be able to do more things, like crazy positionless,” Randle said. George added that European ballers are “really changing our league.” He mentioned Giannis, Jokic, Luka, and rookie-to-be Wemby saying that they “have this crazy skill set.”
Randle answered back, telling a little story about fellow classmate Jokic (both were drafted in 2014). “I remember my second year. We had played against him, and he was killing. I’m like, why is this dude killer? Slow. Fat. He ain’t nice like that, right?”
“It’s crazy. You talk about getting better. It’s crazy to see him,” Randle added. “He’s always had that skill. You look back, he’s always had that skill, but to really hone in on his skill set and get better the way he did year after year, that’s incredible.”
Overall, Randle’s journey with the Knicks has been filled with challenges and growth. Despite the difficulties, he remains determined to bring success to New York and appreciates the support of the fans who have been patiently waiting for another championship. With the right mindset and continuous improvement, Randle aims to take the Knicks to new heights in the seasons to come.
JR and PG13 discussed much more stuff from Kobe to Randle’s grandma to learning from playing NBA 2K... but we don’t have the real state here needed to write about it all. You can go and watch/listen for yourself on YouTube or on Apple Podcasts. Take a seat, let it all in, and enjoy the trip.