Julius Randle should find out shortly before Tuesday’s fan-attended game at the Garden whether he will play an extra game this season among the NBA’s elite.
The league will announce its All-Star reserves on Tuesday at 7 p.m. on TNT, and Randle remains in consideration — but is no lock — to be one of the seven players added from the Eastern Conference.
It would mark the first career All-Star designation for Randle, who is in his second season of a three-year, $62.1 million deal with the Knicks.
The 26-year-old power forward — and the player Tom Thibodeau described Sunday as the Knicks’ “engine” — certainly is a deserving candidate.
Randle has posted career bests in points (23.2), rebounds (11.0), assists (5.5) and minutes (36.8) through the Knicks 15-16 start entering Tuesday’s home game against Golden State. He also is shooting 41.0 percent from 3-point range, a significant improvement from the 29.5 percent he posted from long range across his first six NBA seasons.
The only other players averaging at least 23-11-5 this season are Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo and Denver’s Nikola Jokic.
However, those impressive numbers — and the Knicks’ vast improvement — still might not be enough to land Randle a spot in the East in voting done by the conference’s head coaches.
The Nets’ James Harden and Boston’s Jaylen Brown certainly will be added in the backcourt, with Ben Simmons also likely to be tabbed as a second All-Star for conference-leading Philadelphia. Celtics forward Jayson Tatum also figures to nab one of the reserve frontcourt spots.
That leaves just three openings on the 12-man squad, with Randle likely competing with Indiana’s Domantas Sabonis, Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton, Miami’s Bam Adebayo, Philadelphia’s Tobias Harris, Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic, Charlotte’s Gordon Hayward and Detroit’s Jerami Grant up front, as well as guards Zach LaVine of Chicago, Trae Young of Atlanta and Jimmy Butler of Miami.
If he’s not initially chosen, Randle still could be added as a replacement if a selected player backs out due to injury or COVID-19 concerns.
The starting unit for the East features Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant and Joel Embiid in the frontcourt, with guards Kyrie Irving and Bradley Beal. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own players as reserves.
The Knicks announced Monday that limited tickets to the March 4 home game against Detroit were made available for public sale. Tickets were first open to season-ticket holders, followed by the general public, starting at $50, at nyknicks.com.