It may have been in vogue to dump on the New York Knicks, but ESPN’s Jalen Rose is singing a different tune, and he’s high on Julius Randle.
Most in mainstream media have been down on the New York Knicks and their offseason. Amidst high expectations for star talent, the Knicks had to pivot after the Brooklyn Nets signed two of this summer’s biggest free-agent targets in Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
Yet, ESPN and NBA Countdown commentator, Jalen Rose, has a different take on the Knicks.
Per Marc Berman of the New York Post, Rose feels that the Knicks’ win-loss record won’t be that far off from a Durant-less Nets. Plus, Rose is a fan of the Knicks’ biggest offseason signing, Julius Randle.
“On paper, while I love (Caris) LeVert, (Spencer) Dinwiddie and those guys playing with Kyrie and having (Jarrett) Allen down low, they have what it takes to be a playoff team,” Rose told The Post. “But without KD, their record will probably hover around what it was last year. On paper, if everyone plays to their expectations, I don’t feel the Knicks’ record should be far off that and almost be as good as theirs.”
The Knicks accumulated a bevy of role players included bonafide starters in Marcus Morris and Randle. It will be interesting to see if head coach David Fizdale is able to mesh hungry vets on short-term contracts with highly-touted young players that need reps.
The Knicks absolutely added more talent to their roster, but it seems premature to say that they will be on par with a Nets team that played meaningful games in April last season.
Rose also mentioned Randle and his growth as a former lottery pick.
“When you get a guy like that high in the lottery, you hope that person becomes a productive veteran, but your goal is to play at an All-Star level,’’ Rose said. “And you’re doing great if he becomes a perennial All-Star.’’
Randle enters this season coming off a campaign where he averaged just over 21 points per game and over eight rebounds per game. As I wrote back in July, the Knicks and Randle are a good match, because the Kentucky product will still be young and in his prime when his contract ends. Playing well with the Knicks can garner Randle that big four-five year deal that every player wants.
In the end, I’m not so sure I share Rose’s optimism with the Knicks. The Nets, even without Durant, have continuity, player development, role players that understand their roles and a coaching staff that has been there from the ground up.
The Knicks may get there, but they have a ways to go.