Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |
New Knick Julius Randle isn't going to make any big predictions about the upcoming season. And he's not going to make any bold statements about what he will or won't do in his first year as a Knick.
What Randle is promising Knicks fans in Year One is simple:
"I'm just going to bring it every night, man," he said in an interview with SNY at his backpack giveaway at Rucker Park on Saturday. "I'm not going to promise stats, I'm not gonna promise anything. Just bring it every night and do everything I can to help my team win. And I'm going to get better as a player. You're never going to have to question my commitment, my effort. You're never going to have to question where my heart is. It's for this team, it's for this city, and that's what it's about."
Randle took some time to talk about basketball with SNY while handing out backpacks and school supplies to children at Harlem's Rucker Park on Saturday.
On expectations about where the Knicks fit in the East this season:
"I think we're going to be fine. I think we're going to be great. I'm not going to talk too much about what we're gonna do. We're just gonna do it. But I think we're going to be good. And we have a very deep team, a lot of guys who can play. We'll let the media and outsiders let the expectations be what they want them to be. But internally as a group, we know where we want to do. And the only way we're gonna do that is to work. So I'm just excited to get to there."
After missing out on Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and Kyrie Irving, the Knicks added Randle, Marcus Morris, Bobby Portis, Elfrid Payton, Wayne Ellington, Reggie Bullock and Taj Gibson in free agency. The club added veterans with the idea that they would push the younger players to compete for minutes/positions in David Fizdale's rotation.
On playing with Mitchell Robinson:
Bobby Portis said in an interview with the New York Post that he expects to come off the bench behind Robinson this season. So Randle should play alongside Robinson regularly this season. He's looking forward to it. "I'm excited man, that kid is going to be amazing," Randle said. During his free agency meeting with the Knicks, Randle recalls telling Fizdale, "'When we played I was like, 'who is this kid?' Cause every time I went to the basket he was coming out of nowhere. I'm like, 'Yo, what's going on?'" Randle said with a grin. "I had no clue who he was. He has so much potential now he's only scratching the surface and I'm excited to get, on the court with him."
On the Knicks' underdog mentality:
Several new Knicks said in interviews that they feel the team is being overlooked by fans and media.
Does Randle agree with that underdog mentality? "Yeah, I can see, I can see how as a group we can view that but I don't really care. I'm not worried about what somebody expects of us. I know the group that we have and that's what's important. It's not what somebody here is saying… it's one through 15 and it's us being locked in, buying into what coach says and committing to each other. If you're playing a lot or if you're not playing a lot, if you're scoring a lot or not scoring a lot: what do you bring to the game to help us win? That's what's important."
On his 3-point shooting:
Randle shot a career-high 34.4 percent from beyond the arc last season with the Pelicans on 2.7 attempts per game. New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry encouraged him to shoot from the perimeter and the results were encouraging. It's easy to see Fizdale asking Randle to do the same, as the Knicks don't have a ton of perimeter shooting. Randle says his strong showing from deep last season was the result of having a green light from Gentry. "From high school on I've always been able to do that. It was just all about opportunity. Sometimes you have to sacrifice and I got to new Orleans and had a great opportunity to do that. I'm just trying to build on that.
So obviously this offseason I've been doing a lot of that, trying to build on that and become an even better 3-point shooter. I know what my bread and butter is at the same time though, I'm not going to leave that."
On why he decided to give away school supplies to kids at Rucker Park in Harlem on Saturday:
"Going back to school is always an exciting time. As a kid, you get some new clothes, shoes, back-to-school supplies. But me and my wife (Kendra), we come from single parent homes where our moms had to work for everything. they did it on their own so we know how hard it was. So for us, you always want to find a way where we can give back and help make families' lives a little bit easier. And that's really what it's all about. Hopefully this puts a smile on those kids' faces and encourages them to do well headed back to school. I told them the only way to get the backpack is to get all As so hopefully they do that.