Former Knick Charles Oakley thinks Julius Randle is 'a better version of Zion Williamson'

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Colin Martin
·2 min read
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Knicks Julius Randle with Zion Williamson
Knicks Julius Randle with Zion Williamson

There's no doubt Knicks forward Julius Randle has stepped up his game this season, earning his first All-Star selection while averaging a career-high 24.0 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 6.0 assists per game.

He's also the odds on favorite to win the NBA's Most Improved Player Award and will have a good chance at making an All-NBA Team selection.

As a guest on SiriusXM NBA Radio, former Knick Charles Oakley praised Randle and compared him to 2019 No. 1 pick Zion Williamson of the New Orleans Pelicans.

“I think he’s a better version of Zion Williamson to me. Because he can do more. … I said last year, they (the Knicks) didn’t have a superstar. And now they got a superstar," Oakley said.

Many around the league see Williamson as the next big superstar talent, as his physical presence combined with athletic ability makes him a very special player. Plus, the fact that he's only 20 years old makes for a potentially long, decorated career.

Randle has been playing at a new level this season, thanks in part to new head coach Tom Thibodeau's style and the team building around him properly. The former Kentucky product had never averaged more than 3.6 assists per game (which he did in 2016-17 with the Los Angeles Lakers) until this season, in addition to shooting a career-best 41.6 percent from beyond the arc.

Oakley clearly sees the improvements that Randle has shown on the court this season, helping the Knicks to a 34-27 record and their current spot as the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Williamson may be averaging 27.0 points per game over 55 contests, but he's putting up just 7.3 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game in comparison to Randle. He's also shooting only 30 percent from three-point range on 0.5 attempts per game.

Knicks fans may have wanted Williamson more than anything back before the 2019 NBA Draft, but drafting his Duke teammate RJ Barrett and pairing him with Randle seems to have worked out very well.