Like everyone who plays for the New York Knicks, Julius Randle is having a tough season. He was once a highly-touted prospect, but his NBA career has hit some roadblocks in recent years. Knicks fans have little to get excited about, so they are amusing themselves by making a meme out of Randle’s signature move.
Julius Randle was one of the best high school players in his class
Julius Randle’s career has not gone the way many expected to go. As a high schooler playing in Plano, Texas, Randle was a consensus top-five recruit. He eventually committed to the University of Kentucky, alongside fellow prospects Andrew and Aaron Harrison, James Young, and Dakari Johnson.
Once he arrived in college, Randle handled the step-up in competition with ease. He put up 15 points and 10 rebounds a game for the Wildcats. He ended the year with 24 double-doubles, the most ever by a Kentucky freshman, and the second-most in school history.
Randle was also named as one of the semi-finalists for the Naismith College Player of the Year. After losing the national championship game to Connecticut, Randle entered the 2014 NBA draft.
His NBA career has become increasingly fraught
Randle was selected seventh overall by the Los Angeles Lakers. He was projected to be one of the pillars of the Lakers rebuild, but his career went off-course also immediately. 14 minutes into the season opener, Randle broke his leg and missed the rest of the season.
He recovered before the start of the next season and had many good games. He only averaged 11 points a game, but Randle did become the youngest Laker to put up a triple-double since Magic Johnson. Randle improved in the following two years, but the Lakers were still a bad team, and they let him enter free agency in 2018. There was some consternation over the decision, but that was quickly forgotten once LeBron James signed for the team.
Randle moved to the New Orleans Pelicans. Looking purely at the numbers, Randle had a career season. He averaged 21 points, nine rebounds, and three assists. But once again, the stats didn’t translate into wins. Players like Randle are being squeezed out of the modern NBA.
He’s a big man who doesn’t stretch the floor, pass freely, or defend particularly well. He still has some useful skills. When Randle gets running downhill, he can use his strength and athleticism to bulldoze his way to the rim. But his play has shown that he needs to add more tools to his arsenal in order to be a useful player.
Knicks fans have given Julius Randle an unflattering nickname
There is no clearer sign that an NBA player’s career is off the rails than signing a one-year deal for the New York Knicks. Randle did just that this summer, as one of the several power forwards to profit from the team’s failure to sign any star free agents last summer.
Both Randle and the Knicks have played poorly this year, and fans of the team have taken to the world of memes to derive some dark comedy out of the situation. He’s earned the nickname “Beyblade” in honor of his signature spin move that is reminiscent of the battle top children’s toy/TV show from the early 2000s. There is also a video that shows how often Randle uses this move and how it isn’t nearly as successful as he thinks it is.
He’s averaging 19 points and 10 rebounds this season, but clips like this show how frustrating his game is for Knicks fans. Randle is a free agent again this summer and will have to do a lot more if he wants to stay in the NBA in the long-term.