Resurgent Julius Randle raising his Knicks value again

Kyrie Irving didn’t give the Nets any other choice


This is not a great time to be a sports fan in New York. Football is already a fading memory, gone for the better part of six months, and all the NFL postseason showed is just how far the Giants and Jets have to go to become relevant teams, never mind Super Bowl champs. 

Baseball? The Yankees are the Yankees, and hope always springs eternal for the Mets, who should be an interesting team to watch with the high-powered additions of Max Scherzer and Buck Showalter. But the labor stoppage is a migraine nobody needs, and despite everything management and players have to lose, who would really be surprised if this latest fight between billionaires and multi-millionaires delays the start of the season? 

The Rangers will make the NHL playoffs, always a good thing, and that should help offset the free-falling expectations of the world-famous Brooklyn Nets. The eighth-place team in the East (believe it or not) had lost a staggering 11 straight heading into Monday night’s meeting with Sacramento, and now pins its long-term title hopes on the recently acquired star, Ben Simmons, who isn’t ready to play and who is afraid to shoot when he is ready. 

And that brings us to the Knicks, who took the Garden floor against Oklahoma City as the 12th-place team in the East (believe it or not). The Knicks were supposed to take at least a little baby step toward contention this year, based on all the wonderful reviews they earned last year, and instead are busy proving that 2020-21 was something of a mirage — a temporary sanctuary from two decades of awfulness, followed by the kind of dispiriting basketball often played before Tom Thibodeau arrived. 

Julius Randle
Julius Randle enjoyed a resurgent West Coast trip despite the team’s results.

But finally, something positive appears to be emerging out of 2021-22. Julius Randle apparently rediscovered himself on the West Coast trip. It’s an odd thing, really, that the closest thing the Knicks had to a franchise player last year would stumble upon his long, lost game during a five-game stretch that saw his team go 1-4, punctuated by an unforgivable loss to a stripped-down Portland team that trailed by 23 points with 17 minutes and change to play.