From breaking his leg on his NBA debut to making his first All-Star appearance, Julius Randle has come a long way. He's currently leading the New York Knicks' charge for their first playoff finish since the 2012-13 season.
Julius Randle recorded a triple-double in the recently concluded game between the Knicks and the Oklahoma City Thunder. He finished with 26 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists to lead his side to a blowout win.
Not many people expected such powerful performances from Randle during his stint with the LA Lakers, but two-time All-Star Roy Hibbert is probably an exception. Hibbert was Randle's teammate during the 2015-16 season and has seen the latter's slow but certain rise through the ranks up close.
Hibbert spoke to the Indian media on Sunday and was all praises for the New York Knicks' talisman:
"I'm happy that he's an All-Star, especially doing it in New York. ... And he's always working hard. I see him on Instagram training hard, changing up his diet. He definitely puts in the time and the effort. He did that all himself but he plays with a chip on his shoulder, I love it."
Julius Randle has all eyes on him as his performances have led the New York Knicks to a 20-19 record so far for the 2020-21 season. The Knicks currently occupy the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference as a result.
Roy Hibbert recalls advising Julius Randle after he was snubbed from the Rising Stars Challenge
Julius Randle is averaging 22.9 points, 11 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game this season while shooting at a 41.2% clip from downtown. He's finally getting his due but it hasn't always been easy for the 26-year-old.
Despite a good start to the 2015-16 season as a member of the LA Lakers, Julius Randle wasn't selected for the Rising Stars Challenge. He spent his entire rookie year on the sidelines, nursing a leg injury, but still managed to shine upon his return to a team that wasn't good. Roy Hibbert had spoken in Randle's favor at the time, calling the ordeal "a travesty."
Recalling his support for Randle, Hibbert remarked:
"His rookie year, he had broken his leg...so he was out then. And the following year I got there and he was getting back. He had a very strong year."
Hibbert then narrated the advice he gave Randle to deal with the aforementioned setback:
"I said, 'Have a chip on your shoulder. Remember this, remember the people that were chosen ahead of you for this.' I remember my time. I was not selected in my first and second year for the rookie-sophomore game, but I was an All-Star. It's very rare that if you're not on that path from the beginning, you're not gonna be on the path to become an All-Star or anything like that. I said use that."
It's safe to assume that Julius Randle paid heed to Hibbert's words. Randle failed to leave his mark on the LA Lakers and a short stint with the New Orleans Pelicans didn't work out either. But he's finally had a breakthrough campaign in his second year with the New York Knicks.
The sky is the limit for Julius Randle who, despite having played seven seasons in the NBA already, is still 26 years old and will only get better from here.
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