Surprise starter named ‘Most Likely’ All-Star for Knicks

julius randle rj barrett


RJ Barrett, Evan Fournier and Julius Randle celebrate together.

The New York Knicks have a solid roster going into the new season, and while they couldn’t land Donovan Mitchell or any other big name through a trade, it’s not the end of the world.

Jalen Brunson will step in as the team’s starting point guard, and that solves an issue the team has faced for years. After splitting time between Kemba Walker and Alec Burks at the position last season, there really was nowhere to go but up, and that’s exactly what they chose.

Brunson has flashed All-Star potential and there are already people out there predicting he’ll be called up to the first team of his careerand that’s not a crazy thought.

What could be considered bolder is that it is accompanied by another kink. Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report predicts the Knicks will broadcast two players to the All-Star Game this season, and he names Julius Randle the “most likely” candidate on the list.

This might come as a shock to fans considering how poor his last season was, but there’s a feeling he could return to his form and silence any doubters.

Randle Over Brunson for All-Star Nod

Where Randle is perhaps able to move forward here is that he was there, doing that. Randle was an all-star in his career, and he still has the numbers to prove he’s worth one.

Average is 20/10/5 nothing to complain about, and while his efficiency was low last season, he still ramped up those numbers. If he can improve his shooting, it’s no longer far-fetched to say he’ll be back in the All-Star Game. Buckley notes all of this when he says Randle is likely the All-Star.

“Julius Randle is the most likely candidate for a spot, if only because he’s only one season away from being nominated,” he said. “Even last season, when his numbers were falling across the board, he still had star ratings at 20.1 points, 9.9 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game.”

As for the second All-Star, he believes it comes down to Brunson or RJ Barrett, which was expected. Brunson is the guy who has shown potential with the Mavericks, but Barrett has also improved every season he’s been in the league.

“The second invite will likely end up with either RJ Barrett or Jalen Brunson,” Buckley continued. “The former paired a 20-point scoring average with a career-best defense last season, while the latter made a breakthrough of his own. Both should also be paying them a lot of attention after signing huge deals this offseason.

Will there be an All Star?

The problem with Brunson making an all-star team is that the Eastern Conference is so wake-heavy.

He has to face the likes of Marcus Smart, Kyrie Irving, Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland, Fred VanVleet, Zach LaVine, LaMelo Ball and the list goes on. That doesn’t mean he won’t be able to get the nod, but it does play a part in why Randle might be the more likely candidate.

At the end of the day, many fans would prefer to see the Knicks make the playoffs rather than have players named to the All-Star team. Of course, All-Stars are usually an indication that your team is good, so they might have the best of both worlds. Surprise starter named ‘Most Likely’ All-Star for Knicks

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