Two seasons ago, in his last campaign with the New Orleans Pelicans, Julius Randle was one of only eight players in the NBA to average at least 21.0 points and 8.5 rebounds per game, and the only one of them not named an All-Star. All-Star talk has begun for Randle this season, but there remains uncertainty whether there will be an All-Star Game for him to be a part of even if he does make it.
Randle has been the key to the Knicks’ 8-8 start — a humble-sounding achievement, but far above what this roster was expected to do this soon — and was averaging career bests of 22.8 points, 11.0 rebounds and 6.1 assists entering Thursday night’s 119-104 road victory over Golden State. But with COVID-19 having prompted the NBA to call off All-Star Weekend in Indianapolis, it remains uncertain if there actually will be a game.
When the league announced that the weekend in Indiana was off, it included a note that "plans for a revised NBA All-Star 2021 will be announced at a later date." An NBA spokesman said that decision had not been made but the league hopes to have a plan soon.
Randle is content to be playing well regardless of whether it includes the actual game.
"I mean you always strive to be the best version of who you are," he said. "You set goals and stuff like that. It’s obviously something that I want, but it’s not something that I’m focusing on. I’m really just focusing on this team, getting lost in the team, trying to figure out the best way, every night, to be the best version of myself and to give my team a chance to win and do everything I can to be prepared to give our team a chance to win on a night-to-night basis.
"Those things come along with it. Year to year, I try to get better, put myself in position to be the best version of me, so obviously the recognition is great, but I still feel like I have a long way to go and a lot that I can improve on."