Julius Randle’s dream was not just making the NBA. It was becoming an NBA All-Star.
The dream has been realized as Randle has been named to the Eastern Conference All-Star team as a reserve to culminate his career year in his second season with the Knicks.
Randle will become the first Knicks player to participate in an All-Star Game since Carmelo Anthony in 2017. This year’s All-Star Game is scheduled for March 7 in Atlanta.
The Eastern reserves among frontcourt players included Jayson Tatum, and Nikola Vucevic. Randle beat out Indiana’s Domantas Sabonis, Miami’s Bam Adebayo and Philly’s Tobias Harris.
Kristaps Porzingis was named to the All-Star team in 2018 but never made it to the contest. Soon after being named he tore his ACL and never played another game for the Knicks.
“It would mean a lot,” Randle said Tuesday after the Knicks’ morning shootaround, hours before the reveal. “My goal was never just to play in the NBA. I always felt that I would get there. I just wanted to be the best player I could possibly be and reach my potential. And I try to push myself every day to do so. It would definitely be a milestone.”
The league’s coaches voted Randle in and the Knicks power forward had an inkling he had gotten their respect by all the double-teams he’s faced this season on the way to career numbers
Randle has played in all 31 games so far this season, posting career highs in points (23.2), rebounds (11.0), assists (5.5) and minutes (36.8). He entered the season after a dull first year as trade bait but now he’s anything but. The Post has learned Randle is considered a part of the future and the Knicks have no desire to move him with his team option coming up at $20 million. Randle is a client of Creative Artists Agency — which Knicks president Leon Rose used to run.
“I think I get that validation how [opposing coaches] play me every night,” Randle said. “With the double-teams. How they try to game plan. All that type of stuff. Obviously the All-Star nod would be amazing. Every player strives to do that.”
Randle said if he made it, the determination would have been made on his “impact on winning.” With a lightly regarded roster, the Knicks entered Tuesday’s game against the Warriors 15-16. Indeed, they’d be far worse without his nightly domination that has included his improvement from the 3-point line, and in his decision-making and leadership. Randle hasn’t made the playoffs in his first six seasons but that could change too.
“Just as you grow as a player throughout the course of your career, you learn how to do the little things to help the team win,” Randle said. “Coach [Tom Thibodeau] has done a great job of coaching me up, putting me in those positions. And we’re winning, having those numbers. But I think a lot of people maybe, before the year, may have counted us out as a team, said that we weren’t going to be that good as a team. We’re turning a lot of heads on a game-to-game basis so that probably has something to do with it too.”