The New York Knicks are playing their best basketball in almost a decade. They just got a nine-game winning streak snapped by the Phoenix Suns, but it's clear that they're ready to compete with the best teams on the planet.
Tom Thibodeau has done an outstanding job of establishing his tough, physical defense, his grittiness, and competitive spirit on this roster, and the Knicks are on the verge of clinching a playoff spot and homecourt advantage on the first round.
But, even though it has been mostly a team effort and some good coaching, no one can deny the fact that Julius Randle has been the undisputed star, leader, and best player for the Knicks all year long.
The former Kentucky Wildcat has taken his game to a whole new level, improving as a defender, thriving as a ball-handler, and efficiently scoring from all three levels. Right now, he's not only an All-Star but also an All-NBA kind of guy.
Ironically, a recent report by Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report said that the New York Knicks actually considered trading him away prior to this year's trade deadline, as his value was at an all-time high:
“The Knicks, at least briefly, did consider the notion of moving Randle at the deadline, sources said, when the first-time All-Star’s trade value may have reached its peak,” Fischer said.
Gladly, the Knicks decided to hold on to their star power forward, as they've been one of the best teams in the NBA since the All-Star break.
Thus far, Randle has posted averages of 23.9 points, 10.4 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 1.0 steals, and 2.2 three-pointers per game on 46/41/86 shooting splits, and even though they're not ready to compete for a ring just yet, they'll only go as far as he can take them in the playoffs.