With Randle in the mix, the Knicks have looked like a potentially dangerous team to watch in the Eastern Conference. Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau has to be pleased with how Randle has performed to open the 2020-21 season.
Randle has come a long way in his basketball life, going from the luxurious life in AAU ball to being the leading scorer for the New York Knicks.
Julius Randle has had a solid NBA career thus far
Julius Randle is 26 years old and already in his seventh NBA season, which serves as yet another reminder of the NBA’s strange flow of time.
The Los Angeles Lakers used the seventh overall selection on Randle in the 2014 NBA draft, not long before Kobe Bryant began his penultimate season. A broken leg cost Randle all but one game of his rookie season.
Since then, though, Randle has played in at least 64 games each season. That comes with a caveat because of the coronavirus pandemic, which limited the Knicks to only 66 games in the 2019-20 campaign.
If not for the league’s hiatus last March, Randle likely would have hit 70 total games.
Randle averaged 16.1 points, nine rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 0.7 steals per night through his first five full seasons.
Randle lived the high life on his childhood AAU team
Julius Randle grew up living the high life in Texas, at least when it came to basketball.
An 11-year-old Randle played for a Dallas AAU team funded by Kenny Troutt, a Texas billionaire. Troutt made his money after founding Excel Communications, a telecommunications company, and selling it to Teleglobe for $3.5 billion, according to Forbes.
Forbes valued Troutt’s net worth at $1.5 billion as of Jan. 11, 2021.
According to The Undefeated, Troutt took his AAU team to road games on private jets. The team stayed in five-star hotels, and Randle recalled getting to see the Mavericks play during the Dirk Nowitzki era.
Randle watched Kobe Bryant and the Lakers play Nowitzki’s Mavericks. Of course, Randle went on to play with Bryant for two seasons.
Julius Randle has found a home with the New York Knicks
If the New York Knicks hope to return to relevance, they’re lucky to have Julius Randle around.
Randle opened the 2020-21 season by averaging 23.2 points, 11.8 rebounds, and a career-high 7.1 assists in his first 10 games. The veteran big man is also hitting 50.9% of his shots from the field.
New York split its first 10 games, a welcome sight after going 21-45 last season. The Knicks have not made the playoffs since the 2012-13 season.
Randle is in the second year of a three-year, $61.1 million contract he signed with the Knicks in the summer of 2019. At this point, the Knicks have to be hoping that Randle can continue his hot start and help the Knicks sneak into the NBA playoffs.