The legend of Julius Randle continues to grow with each passing game. The veteran forward has led the Knicks to their best season in years, made his first All-Star Team, and now, he's playing his best basketball of the season when it counts. As the Knicks push for their first playoff appearance since 2013, Randle has them peaking at the perfect time.
The Knicks have now won eight games in a row. It's their longest winning streak since 2014, when Carmelo Anthony still wore blue and orange, and as a result, they now have sole possession of the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference. Randle has led the way by averaging a staggering 30 points per game during the streak. In Wednesday's win over the Hawks, he scored 40, pulled in 11 rebounds and dished out six assists.
Amazingly, the game might not even be Randle's best throughout the streak. A 44-point gem against former Knick Kristaps Porzingis and his Dallas Mavericks might take the cake. He opened the streak with a triple-double. Oh, and the Knicks still have the NBA's No. 4 ranked defense.
It would be unfair to give Randle all of the credit. Tom Thibodeau's culture has worked wonders. RJ Barrett's shooting has improved significantly. Derrick Rose has been a big help off of the bench. This has been a team effort, but Randle is at the center of all of it. The Knicks have spent years searching for a superstar to lead them. They signed Randle only after the stars they wanted, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, chose Brooklyn.
But now Randle is blossoming into the star New York was looking for all along. He's playing the best basketball any Knick has since Anthony's departure, and it looks like he's going to lead New York back to the postseason for the first time since Anthony was dealt. Even if it doesn't end with a championship or MVP award, it's one of the greatest seasons in Knicks history.