While many fans dreamed of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in NBA free agency the New York Knicks delivered Julius Randle on a 3 years 64 million dollar contract. So how has the 25-year-old fared in his first season suiting up for in orange and blue?
I won’t lie, like many New York Knicks fans I would rip my hair out every time I watched Julius Randle force a shot or lay up and brutally miss. Earlier in the season this would happen multiple times in games, I was afraid by season’s end I would be bald. However, Randle has turned a corner and has put together an impressive début season in the Big Apple.
Before I get started I want to say I know Julius Randle still forces shots. I know they’re tough to watch, I know they’re ugly, BUT he’s been forcing less shots as of late improving his efficiency.
Since the All-Star break, Randle has only attempted 1.9 threes, much lower than the 3.9 he attempted pre All-Star break. With Randle only hitting 23% of his shots from deep this season, the fewer attempts from Randle, the better.
We’ve seen this hold true as of late. Over the last 15 games Randle has only attempted 1.8 threes converting on a season high 39.5%. This isn’t the only percentage Randle has raised this year.
Throughout the season Randle has also improved his free throw shooting. The former Wildcat started the season shooting 60% from the charity stripe in October and 64.4% in November. Those would be the only months Randle shot sub 70%, and is shooting a season high 78% from the free throw line since the All-Star break.
While many fans and media members alike want to jump on Randle for his unsuccessful season, his numbers are still top-notch.
Randle is nearly averaging a double-double on the year with 19.3 points and 9.8 rebounds. Here’s the list of players averaging a double-double this year with over 20 points: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic and LeBron James. Not too bad of company if you ask me.
I’m not trying to say Randle is as good as any of those players because he’s not, but the numbers he’s putting up are still impressive. He also ranks second on the team with 3.1 assist a game only behind pass first point guard Elfrid Payton.
On top of all that, Randle leads the Knicks in player efficiency and ranks 34th in the NBA. That places him ahead of stars like Kemba Walker, Donovan Mitchell and CJ McCollum. In fact, 31 of the 33 players who are ranked above Randle in efficiency have been named to an All-Star game at one point or another in their career.
With the New York Knicks taking on the Washington Wizards Wednesday March 11th, Julius Randle is in store for another big performance. In 3 games against the Wizards this season Randle has averaged 28.7 points, 11.3 rebounds and 3 assists a game while shooting 51.7% from the field, 41.2% from three and 89.5% from the free throw line.
With Leon Rose as the New York Knicks new team president only a few players futures are not in question, and Randle doesn’t fall in that category. Whether this is Randle’s only season in the Big Apple or not, statistically it’s been a success.