If you have yet to notice, Robert Horry has been on the air more frequently this season, particularly on The Jump or Lakers’ pregame with Mike Bresnahan, Ali Clifton, and Big Game James Worthy. Although he may not be as much of a veteran on the mic versus on the court, Big Shot Bob has already looked to make a splash in the form of some bold predictions on air.
Over a month ago, he said the “not concerned” squad in Los Angeles were a bunch of pretenders and, therefore, would not perform in the postseason. Horry threw another bold prediction in the hat, proclaiming that NBA's Most Improved Player Julius Randle would one day be an MVP in this league.
If Julius were to accomplish this, he would be only the second player in league history to have won both awards in their career, the other being Giannis Antetokounmpo. While that would be some elite company should Randle one day accomplish the same feat, taking a closer look at how it all started for Randle and the journey he has been through so far only tells his fans that the young star’s best years are still way ahead of him.
“He had a rough start in LA, but then he matured into this phenomenal basketball player that we all thought he could be. The future is bright for this guy because he is going to be an MVP soon.”
Robert Horry, The Jump
After one year at the University of Kentucky, Julius was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers during a time of confusion within the franchise. Leadership was rather shaky and some injuries in seasons passed resulted in the Lakers having a young roster alongside an aging Kobe Bryant. Safe to say that did not work out for Randle, and at one point, he was relegated to playing as a back-up to Larry Nance Jr, a role in which he excelled in but did not seem to maximize his full potential. He then made a brief stop in New Orleans, where there were signs of improvement with an increased role which led Randle to decline his player option the following season to join the struggling New York Knicks in 2019.
In the background, Julius had worked consistently with New York-based skills coach Chris Brickley, popularly known for the Black Ops Runs that were more star-studded than most NBA games. Though the team that signed him was then being ridiculed for landing Randle after expectations of a Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant pairing, the hard work Randle put in was something that never went away as he knew that one day that would all pay off.
The hours in the gym not only sharpened his skills but opened his mind to what it would take to continue to grow and excel in his profession. Now, with New York seemingly starting to turn the culture in their organization, the sky's the limit for him. With Tom Thibodeau at the helm, not only have the Knicks started playing winning basketball again, but they have given new life to a city haunted by years of being bottom dwellers despite being one of the most valued sports franchises in the world. Horry believes that it is for this reason that Julius Randle will one day raise the trophy of the NBA’s most coveted individual regular-season award in front of the fans of Madison Square Garden.
“It’s hard to play in New York… Being an MVP is hard but he has Thibodeau behind him who is going to push him and he has a good organization behind him so…”
Robert Horry, The Jump
If this were to happen, it would be of astronomical value to the New York Knicks franchise and brand. Think about this, the last time the New York Knicks even had a player receive an MVP vote was in 2012 when Carmelo Anthony secured one first-place vote in the race against LeBron James of the Miami Heat. With so much talent amongst young all-around players in this league, it is quite difficult to predict who will be in the MVP conversations of the next few seasons. However, Julius Randle is one of those special talents and perhaps the only one in the mix that has been down a road as difficult as he has.