Sports

What kept Julius Randle from making Team USA

Julius Randle has earned a slew of accolades this season, but being named an Olympian isn’t one of them. Close but no Tokyo for Randle, said Team USA CEO Jerry Colangelo.

After the official announcement that Jerami Grant, Kevin Love and Draymond Green beat out Randle as power forwards on Team USA, The Post asked Colangelo why Randle wasn’t seen as a fit.

Randle’s decision to back out of playing for Team USA in the World Cup in the summer of 2019 likely cost him. Team USA shockingly didn’t medal as Randle stayed home for family reasons and prepared for his first season with the Knicks.

Colangelo pointed to Love’s vast international experience and the desire to fill out the roster with role players. Love played just 25 games this season and has been injured on and off the past several seasons. Meanwhile, Randle, after playing 71 of 72 regular-season games in 2020-21, was named second team All-NBA this month.

“Regardless of who you select, there’s always a few names that come up regarding why they aren’t there,’’ Colangelo said. “Randle was right there. He was one of our considerations. Especially when some of the injuries took place and we lost a few players.’’

New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose (4) and New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) are on the bench
Julius Randle’s lack of international play was seemingly held against him.
Corey Sipkin

Indeed, Randle’s chance was there with Anthony Davis, LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard all rehabbing from injuries.

“He had a great year this year,’’ Colangelo said of Randle. “He’s come a long way. The best reason to say why Kevin Love as an extra big was because of his international experience. Yes it’s true he hasn’t played much of anything the last couple of years, but the skills he brings to the table and commitment he’s made to physical conditioning, he’s a versatile guy up front who can rebound and hit shots. Who’s to say how many minutes a guy will play? You’re not playing all 12 players. It was a matter of filling out the roster with role players. Randle was close.’’

Randle was a first-time All-Star and the NBA’s Most Improved Player in leading the Knicks to a 41-31 record and the Eastern Conference’s fourth seed. However, Randle didn’t perform well in his first playoffs as the Knicks were bounced out by Atlanta in five games. Randle shot just 29.8 percent in the series.

Grant, to whom the Knicks made a contract offer in free agency last November, according to sources, had a strong season on a horrible Pistons squad. But he’s an Olympian.

Training camp starts July 6 in Las Vegas with the basketball event in Tokyo starting in late July with Team USA opening against France and Frank Ntilikina.

Colangelo said Grant’s “versatility’’ was a key to his selection.

“He’s an athlete and long,’’ Colangelo said. “He’s become a good scorer. Versatility is a key and it’s a trademark of this group. We have guys who can play a couple of positions, three positions and Jerami fits in like a glove.’’

The 12-man roster was officially announced with the Brooklyn Nets’ Kevin Durant as the headliner. However, things can change. Phoenix’s Devin Booker, along with Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday, could always pass up on the event if the Suns reach the NBA Finals.

The current roster is: Durant (Nets); Bam Adebayo (Miami Heat), Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards), Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns), Jerami Grant (Detroit Pistons), Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors), Jrue Holiday (Milwaukee Bucks), Zach LaVine (Chicago Bulls), Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers), Kevin Love (Cleveland Cavaliers), Khris Middleton (Milwaukee Bucks) and Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics).

Most Related Links :
Business News Governmental News Finance News

Need Your Help Today. Your $1 can change life.

[charitable_donation_form campaign_id=57167]

Source link

Back to top button