Knicks forward Julius Randle is an NBA All-Star this season.

Knicks forward Julius Randle is an NBA All-Star this season. Credit: AP/Jessie Alcheh

ATLANTA — Julius Randle won’t find out which NBA All-Star team he is playing on until captains LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo draft the rosters just before Sunday night’s game in Salt Lake City. 

When asked if there are any players he’d really like to play with, Randle mentioned James and Clippers star Paul George. 

Randle said George is a friend. But why James? 

“It would be fun to do before he gets his old [butt] out of here,” Randle said, laughing. 

Asked about the new format, in which the captains will pick the teams during a pregame segment, Randle said: “It’s fun. Seems like it'd be cool, not knowing who you’re playing for until right before the game. So we'll see what happens.” 

 RJ’s struggles 

Coach Tom Thibodeau said he is not concerned about the recent slow starts from RJ Barrett. 

“Just play,” Thibodeau said before the Knicks visited the Hawks on Wednesday night. “Just don't overthink it. We already know you're a good player. Attack, work your way through it. There's going to be ups and downs to a season. How you navigate it is important. The most important thing is don't get lost in individual stats. Get lost in the team. If you get lost in the team, good things are going to happen.” 

Centers of attention 

Thibodeau said he is eager to have Mitchel Robinson (thumb surgery) back when he is ready, but is pleased with the work of Jericho Sims and Isaiah Hartenstein in Robinson’s absence. 

“You hate to see anyone be injured, [but] it's an opportunity for someone else to step in and grow,” he said. “I think Jericho getting into that role has really been helpful for him . . . and I don't want to overlook the contributions that Isaiah has made.” 

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