He’s a Knick Star
It takes a special type of person to play in NY. This city has a way of exposing the flaws of anyone who wears a jersey with the city name emblazoned with it. Last year Julius Randle was often the target of the ire of fans and media all over the city. He didn’t let the weight of the city overtake him. He took those criticisms and reinvented his game and took control of his New York career.
He came in after an 8-month hiatus ready to lead on the New York Knicks. I congratulate Julius Randle for really stepping it up this year. He has been nothing short of a Knick star. But for the Eastern conference is he an NBA all-star? I think Julius Randle is looking in from the outside barring a change. I’m not criticizing Randle, but an all-star selection depends on more than good feelings about a player. The criteria for all-star selection should be simple. You should need to be one of the best in your conference at your position. This is the NBA of course they have to add some drama to it. Julius Randle’s play level, although high, can be outshined by others in his conference by more than play. The East is a tough conference for forwards to stand out with so many established stars. All is not fair in the NBA and some factors have the odds stacked against making Julius Randle an all-star. Let’s explore those factors that make me come to the conclusion that Julius Randle is not an all-star selection for the eastern conference.
Recency Bias and Team Success
Julius Randle started the season absolutely on fire. The Julius for all-star calls and tweets were coming in early for him when the Knicks opened the season 5-3. When it comes to the fans there is always recency bias. Recency bias in how we favor what has done lately over what has been done over the course of time. It’s undeniable that Julius has been consistent. However, the season has progressed and the Knicks are no longer one of those teams at the top half of the East. The Knick’s current record is under .500 at 11-14 which is a factor in his selection.
Julius Randle’s stats although great have come down from those early games. In his last 10 games, he has averaged 22 points 11.5 rebounds, and 5.1 assists. Those are still great numbers. However, the all-star conversation was initiated when he started the year as a triple-double threat. In his first 10 games, he averaged 23.2 points 11.8 rebounds, and 7.8 assists. The stat that made him shine the most was his close to league topping assists. Randle was leading the team as a legitimate point forward. The threat of a triple-double every night was what caught the eye of his peers around the league. This was a far cry from the 3 assists a game he averaged last season. He now is averaging 6 assists for the season which is double what he averaged last year, but the trend is headed downward from his hot start.
Breakout performances are what gets the attention of not only fan voters but the coaches who vote for all-stars. Thibs short rotations and heavy minutes contributed to his inflated numbers. This decline also is influenced by the emergence of Immanuel Quickley as well. His spectacular guard play takes the pressure off of Julius having to create all the time. With less time with the ball in his hand the fewer opportunities for assists.
Players are more likely to make the all-star team if they contribute to successful teams. Of all the players I have listed as possible fringe all-stars Julius Randle has the longest odds to win the Eastern Conference. Other players that are fringe all-star candidates such as Tobias Harris have significantly less impressive statistics, but his team the Sixers has odds of +600 to win the east compared to the Knicks who chances are at +25000. Another fringe candidate, Malcolm Brogdon was an all-star selection last season. Brogdon has increased his scoring average by 5 points this season and his team has significantly greater odds to win the Eastern Conference at +2350.
A Couple Of Players Are Owed A Spot
Sometimes the coaches and the selection process get it wrong. When they get it wrong badly there usually is a public outcry to make it right the next time around. Last year there were two egregious non-selections in Bradley Beal and Zach Lavine. This season both are still in the East Conference despite hot trade rumors. Each is having better statistical seasons than last year. Even though they are on teams who have declined in wins there will be a push to make up for the past. I expect them to earn spots as reserves to make up for last season.
2020-2021: 33.2 ppg 5.3 rebs 4.3 ast
2020-2021: 27 ppg 5.3 reb 5.3 ast
What Would It Take?
Three Ways To Improve His Chances
- Frontcourt player injury or a frontcourt player selected decides not to participate in the all-star game
2. Fans overwhelm the vote and get him in as a starter. The fan vote counts toward the starter selection but is not the only factor.
3. The New York Knicks get several games above .500 by the selection date.
My List On Probable All-Star Selections
Forwards: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, and Joel Embiid
Guards: James Harden and Ben Simmons
Forwards: Bam Adebayo, Domantas Sabonis, and Jayson Tatum
Guards: Kyrie Irving and Jaylen Brown
Bradley Beal and Zach Lavine
Trae Young, Julius Randle, Tobias Harris, Kris Middleton, Andre Drummond, Malcolm Brogdon, and Nikola Vucevic
I do hope Julius Randle makes it as an NBA All-star this season. What is abundantly clear is he will need help to be in Atlanta on March 7th. If you are a Knicks fan you can do your part by tweeting your selection or filling out your ballot daily on the NBA.com site. I hope the Knicks as a team rallies around Julius and put together some more wins to make a selection more likely.