Julius Randle became the symbol of free agency disappointment for Knicks fans last season, but he has shown signs of a turnaround this year, writes Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. Randle was among several veteran free agents brought in on short-term deals after New York missed out on its primary targets during the summer of 2019. Bondy notes that Randle has lost weight and looks like a different player so far.
“I ran pretty much every day during the offseason. Like I said, that was just a challenge for me to get in extreme condition or whatever it is,” Randle said. “That’s just what I challenged myself to do every day. Yeah, I dropped a little bit of weight but the biggest thing was just pushing myself just to run every day and just challenging myself in that way.”
New coach Tom Thibodeau said he noticed the difference in Randle when he reported for the team’s voluntary training camp in September. Thibodeau has given Randle control of the offense, and he’s averaging 24.8 points, 10.5 rebounds and 7.5 assists through the first four games.
There’s more from New York:
- The Knicks are encouraged by the progress of free agent addition Austin Rivers, who has been sidelined by a groin injury but went through he first contact drills Monday, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. “There’s a progression to coming back,’’ Thibodeau explained. “He was doing condition without contact. Then it goes to one-on-one controlled movements. Then progressed to two-on-two. And then three-on-three. We’re on the three-on-three phase right now. It’s day-to-day on how he feels and whether we get to the next step. There’s more steps to take. He has to play five-on-five and practice with the team. He’s still a couple of steps away.’’
- Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot is making a bid for more playing time following the season-ending injury to Spencer Dinwiddie, writes Mollie Walker of The New York Post. Luwawu-Cabarrot was used as a starter Monday and responded with 21 points, six rebounds and two steals in 40 minutes. “TLC has just been really steady,” Nets head coach Steve Nash said. “Very trustworthy defensively. Knows the system. Is very attentive to his responsibilities, and he’s been shooting the ball. He’s played within himself. He’s doing very well.”
- The Nets have remained in contact with veteran guard Jamal Crawford and may consider him as a replacement for Dinwiddie, states Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. Crawford signed with the Nets for last season’s restart, but appeared in just one game before getting injured.