Ever since Julius Randle got traded to the New York Knicks, he became a different player. Randle's recent performances likened him to other great power forwards in the game's history, but numbers prove the least likely player comparison.
Julius Randle’s stats similar to Larry Bird’s numbers
When you think of Randle, you think of a modern forward who can do almost anything on the floor, but what stands out most are his strength and tenacity. Randle is like a tank out there. Larry Bird is the least likely player comparison you can think of for Randle. However, their games speak for themselves.
According to StatMuse, only Randle and Bird averaged at least 20 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists per game in a season while having at least 40 percent shooting percentage from the 3-point line. Believe it or not but Randle is in the same league as Bird based on the numbers. The Celtics legend did it in the 1984-85 season after averaging 28.7 points per game, 10.5 rebounds, 6.6 assists on 42.7 shooting percentage in the rainbow country.
Meanwhile, Randle joined Larry last season while averaging 24.1 points, 10.2 rebounds, 6 assists, and connecting on 41.1 percent of 3-point attempts. Larry's numbers were better but being mentioned in the same sentence as the Hall of Famer speaks about the vast improvement in Randle's game.
Can Randle lead the Knicks to the promised land?
If the former Lakers forward can keep it up this season, the Knicks should be in the Playoffs this year. The East powerhouses Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers have some issues on their roster while Boston is still searching for that 3rd star to play with Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. New York can quietly sneak up to the 4th spot in the Eastern Conference standings if Randle can duplicate his Bird-like numbers this year.
Sometimes, a trade can do wonders if a player chooses to see the positive side. When Julius got traded from the Lakers to the Knicks, it seemed a downgrade, but management did a good job surrounding the power forward with enough talent and bringing in a good coach in Tom Thibodeau.
Who will be the next big men most likely to join the elite club of Bird and Randle? Best bets are Nikola Jokic, Luka Doncic, or Karl Anthony-Towns. If Julius Randle continues his progress, a title, an MVP award, or a Hall of Fame spot may not be that impossible to reach.