Help Julius Randle make more field goals off assists
As part of absorbing a new role as the #1 option, Randle settled for a lot more field goals off isolation plays. As a result, his field goals made off assists dipped year-to-year, correlating with a greater dip in efficiency. Randle effectively shot below league average from just about everywhere beyond 8 feet of the basket. As part of reducing Randle’s touches, it is imperative to help him score off assists, as that will increase his FG% and improve the team’s overall offense.
During the 2018-19 season, 53.9% of Randle’s field goals made came off assists. That number dipped to 47.7% this past season. There’s no starker difference in his shot profile than shots taken within 8 feet of the basket. During the 2018-19 season, Randle shot 60.5% from within 8 feet of the basket while 49.9% of those made field goals were assisted. This year, Randle shot only 55.4% from within 8 feet of the basket, while 42.5% of those made field goals were assisted. This is further exacerbated as Randle redistributed around 14% of his total shots year-to-year from the paint to within midrange. He shot a bit better from midrange year-to-year, but at a price of scoring more of those points unassisted.
His three-point field goal percentage tanked from 34.4% to 27.5%. While he made over 93.7% of his threes off assists, he just could not find the touch. However, simplifying his offensive arsenal around the paint will have a domino effect on the perimeter.
One simple solution is more opportunities off pick-and-roll. Randle had the most synergy with Elfrid Payton, obviously aided by playing together with the Pelicans during the 2018-19 season. Payton assisted on 82 made field goals for Randle. Randle setting screens is a lot more effective than having him dribble for 5 seconds before taking a contested shot. Kyle Kuzma learned the hard way off a very elementary pick and roll here:
Take RJ Barrett for example (38 FGs assisted). Even treating Randle as a cutter can open up lanes for easy opportunities to get layups, especially early in the shot clock. Here, Barrett takes advantage of an open Randle as he feeds him for an easy layup.
The domino effect is that Randle can then expend less energy scoring baskets. This will allow him to become more proficient on the perimeter, especially when it comes to pick-and-pop opportunities. Take Frank Ntilikina (26 FGs assisted). Of those assisted field goals, 8 were threes. A simple pick-and pop against the Clippers led to an open Randle 3.
If Randles expends less energy making baskets, he will make more field goals and the Knick players will be the beneficiary of his improved efficiency.