Julius Randle: The team’s top scorer
Tim Hardaway Jr. was the New York Knicks’ top scorer until the January trade to the Dallas Mavericks. After that, it came down to whichever of Kevin Knox, Allonzo Trier, Dennis Smith Jr. and Damyean Dotson found their shooting stroke, which was not a recipe for success.
The Knicks drafted RJ Barrett, who could take one of the top, if not the main, scoring role in 2019-20. If the expected rookie wall hits, though, the team will have to turn elsewhere.
Luckily for New York, they signed a player capable of averaging 20 points per game in Julius Randle, who agreed to a three-year, $63 million contract, with a team option for the 2021-22 season.
Randle broke out when Anthony Davis disappeared with his trade request. While it did not result in many wins, the Kentucky product showed improvements in his game, including a newly-found outside shot, making 34.4 percent of his three-pointers on 2.7 attempts per contest.
Plus, Randle’s points per game have increased each year of his career. He will only continue rising, especially at just 24 years old.
While 21.4 points might be difficult to replicate, he can still lead the way offensively, for a team without any established go-to player. That could become Barrett or Knox by season’s end, and none of the other free-agent signings are lead players, so Randle has the opening to establish himself for a full season, and it could be his most impressive run yet.