New York Knicks star Julius Randle had one of the most massive turnarounds in recent NBA memory. After averaging just 19.5 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game during the 2019-20 season, Randle flipped the switch in the 2020-21 season and averaged 24.1 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 6.0 assists per game. All of which are career highs.
Randle’s breakout season earned the former Kentucky Wildcat his first NBA All-Star nod and led him to be the first player in Knicks franchise history to win the Most Improved Player award.
Knicks Want to Pair Star With Kelly Oubre & Julius Randle
As big as a surprise as Randle’s breakout regular season was, so was his performance in the playoffs. He looked like a completely different player. Randle averaged just 18.6 points per game, shot 29.8% from the field and 33.3 percent from the free-throw line as the Knicks lost to the Atlanta Hawks in 5 games.
As good as Randle was during the regular season, during the playoffs, it was clear that he was not a guy that could lead the Knicks to the promised land, with the roster as currently constructed. Randle may be a guy, but he is not THE guy. According to a report by Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News, the Knicks are outsourcing during this summer’s free agency period hoping to get Randle some help so that they can have an even deeper playoff run in 2022.
“The Knicks are interested in trading for a star, and if they do, a league source believes they are also interested in signing Warriors free agent Kelly Oubre Jr,” Winfield writes.
“The source told the Daily News that the Knicks are interested in packaging rising star RJ Barrett in a deal for a star guard, like Portland’s Damian Lillard or Washington’s Bradley Beal. If both the Trail Blazers and Wizards are uninterested in a deal, the source says the Knicks are also monitoring Cleveland’s Collin Sexton, Oklahoma City’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Charlotte’s Terry Rozier as younger guards the franchise can fold into its plans for the future.”
Oubre Details What He Has Learned From Steph Curry
In his lone season with the Warriors, Oubre averaged 15.4 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game. His length and athleticism on both the offensive and defensive end of the court make him an immediate asset to the Knicks. Oubre is also a fairly decent shooter from beyond the arc as he shoots 32.6% from deep for his career. After playing a season with arguably the best shooter of all time in Steph Curry, it would be safe to assume that percentage will climb even higher next season.
“It’s amazing, honestly. He’s the best shooter in the game,” Oubre said of Curry during an appearance on the Complex Sports Podcast. “To be able to see him prepare, see him go out there, and be a true professional each and every day, with the status that he has, all the pressure that he has on him, puts everything into perspective for myself. (I’m) trying to grow in my game, grow and elevate as a basketball player.”
With a talented pool of free agents, this coming summer and a ton of money to spend, the Knicks are in a prime position to improve their roster as they prepare for the upcoming regular season. If they can land a star to play alongside Randle, and sprinkle Oubre into the mix they could be setting up for a deep run in the 2022 playoffs.