On the NBA Beat Ep. 149: Seth Rosenthal: Randle’s “Rare” Turnaround Fuels Knicks’ “Dream of a Season”
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Seth Rosenthal, video producer for SB Nation’s Secret Base, makes his triumphant return to discuss his beloved Knicks’ superb season in the face of extremely low expectations coming into the year. They’ve done it through seismic shooting improvements from Julius Randle and second-year guard RJ Barrett, Derrick Rose's inspired bench play, new head coach Tom Thibodeau’s seamless fit and much more highlighted in the show. Also included: A discussion of where the franchise is headed and where it stands with the playoffs just around the corner.
6:10-6:55: "As a fan of the team who has been stuck in his apartment for the last year, what a thing it's been to be able to depend on a player and a team like the Knicks to sort of cheer me up at the end of the night. I wasn't counting on that. And it's just the way Randle has turned his performance and his career around during this incredibly difficult year has been really inspiring, and it's meant a lot to me. And it's hard to fully describe. … I was searching around ESPN Trade Machine for ways to dump him for, like, Cory Joseph like four months ago, five months ago today. And now I'm ready to extend the dude. I've never seen anything like it as a Knicks fan, and the timing could not have been better."
7:58-8:10: “This is what we’ve been waiting for. This is why you take a gamble on a player. This is why you sign him to an initial sub-max contract. He’s 26 years old right now. Pay the dude.”
10:37-12:06: There is that sort of cultural fit. I think the characteristics that may have made Thibodeau a bad fit in some other places, some things that one might consider flaws, happen to vibe pretty nicely with the personalities of his best players or I guess the people who have become his best players, who weren't necessarily particularly good players coming into this season. … Thibodeau's rap has been: He overplays guys, he's an incredible hard-ass who will scream at you and will overwork you and just has this sort of military mindset. Turns out that someone of Julius Randle's experience and caliber and in RJ Barrett’s case, someone who came up with Coach K, and have these sort of gym rat reputations, they fit perfectly. They like that.”
18:46-19:09: “Coming into this season, I saw him [RJ Barrett] as someone who maybe should be traded because other teams still believed in him and I really didn’t. But I was pleasantly mistaken about that one, about as wrong as I’ve ever been about a Knicks player. He’s extremely important, and a lot of this remarkable season, this turnaround can be attributed to him improving immensely.”
23:25-23:49: “I think everyone understands that going forward with whatever draft pick the Knicks end up with, with the cap space they’re gonna have and the trade market, there’s a pretty clear path forward for this time to go from surprisingly OK to good to great, and it’s building the backcourt. The Knicks really need a good point guard, a star point guard, and I think there’s a good chance they’re gonna go get one.”
38:07-38:43: “Home-court advantage definitely matters, especially as I believe the state of New York is gonna dial up its capacity allowance for a place like Madison Square Garden right around the time the playoffs start. … MSG’s an important home-court advantage, and unless the players on the Knicks are gonna suddenly put their tails between their legs and shoot poorly with the Garden at 25 [percent] or half capacity, whatever it is, they need that.
38:48-41:33: “Erik Spoelstra has always ruined the Knicks. Linsanity, Spoelstra was the guy who just threw a wrench in that. He just really knows how to design a defense that can wreck the Knicks, and the Heat have destroyed the Knicks this season. … The Hawks are gonna be a tough matchup for the Knicks too, but I think not as much of a problem as the Heat would be.”
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