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Knicks’ Julius Randle not worried about Obi Toppin position clash

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Julius Randle isn’t worried about Obi Toppin

The Knicks first-round pick plays the same power-forward position as Randle. There’s concern among NBA cognoscenti whether the two can share the floor. 

Entering his sixth season and figuring to be the Knicks No. 1 option, Randle said they’ll find a way. Neither seems suited for the small-forward position as a defender. 

Randle didn’t seem to enjoy the topic, perhaps realizing if the fit is awkward, the young veteran may reappear on the trading block. 

“He’s an athletic player from what I know,’’ Randle said on Friday’s Zoom call. “I haven’t seen much of him. But he can shoot it and run the floor. So I think we’ll be able to complement each other very well. The game is position-less now. To have many guys be versatile and do many things is great.’’ 

Julius Randle; Obi Toppin
Julius Randle; Obi Toppin
Getty Images (2)

The 6-foot-8 Randle played a bit of center last season but he’s not a rim protector. Toppin, scouts believe, won’t be suited to play the 5 in the NBA because he’s not strong enough. 

“That’ll be up to coach,’’ Randle said. “I’ve played the 5 before though’’ 

Randle’s first season in New York was a mixed bag. His numbers were gaudy but he didn’t lead the Knicks to enough victories. He’s never been on a winning club in six seasons. The Post reported in March some teammates were unsettled by Randle’s over-dribbling. 

To his credit, Randle, who turned 26 last week, admitted his new role last season as team leader after signing a three-year, $60 million deal was challenging. Randle averaged 19.5 points and 9.7 rebounds. 

“It was a process,’’ Randle said. “A lot of times you go out as a young player coming up and you have to worry about your own game. For me it was about putting others before me and trying to make everyone else better. I had to learn how to do that. That was the biggest thing for me, making people better. It’s easier for a young player. You just go out and play.” 

Randle got defensive when asked what he worked on in the offseason, calling it “a loaded question.’’ And he gave no specifics. 

One thing that needs improvement is his 3-point shooting as he regressed, dropping to 27.7 percent from beyond the arc. The Knicks believe Randle will be more comfortable this season. 

“I had a long time to work on my game, had a long time to digest the film, break it down’’ the Dallas native said. “So it’s a loaded question. There’s obviously certain things that you pick out, that you focus on but this offseason was a little bit longer. So there was a bunch of different things, changes that I can make and tweak and got better.’’

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