NY Knicks Free Agency: The case against DeMar DeRozan

DeMar DeRozan, NY Knicks. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
DeMar DeRozan, NY Knicks. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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NY Knicks
Julius Randle, NY Knicks. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

NY Knicks: DeMar DeRozan doesn’t mesh with Julius Randle

All season, we saw Julius Randle terrorize defenses by driving into free space and either creating his own shot or dishing it out to an open teammate.

It was a big difference from last season, where Randle would look to force offense in the same way but spin into a defensive clutter. That clutter was often a result of the Knicks’ poorly equipped personnel, and adding DeMar DeRozan to the mix might reinvoke some of those bad tendencies from Randle.

Space is paramount for the success of Julius Randle. There was a great video made by the Ringer’s Kyle J. Mann in the middle of the season that illustrated how significant good spacing was for Julius Randle and the NY Knicks’ success. 

Julius Randle needs unclogged lanes to perform at his highest level, and guess what we saw against the Atlanta Hawks – clogged lanes.

Atlanta consistently shaded extra defenders in Julius Randle’s direction and then swiftly rotated when he kicked the ball out to a teammate. New York had no answer.

This may be some regurgitation of the earlier points, but defenses are not going to care about DeRozan on the 3-point line. He gives them an opportunity to shade extra wing defenders into Randle’s vicinity, and a lot of those open pastures that Randle plowed his way through so effortlessly all season long would now always be occupied by multiple defenders.

When your main source of shot-creating and playmaking is a frontcourt player and you allow defenses to sink extra defenders into the paint, they’re essentially just going through the motions to stop your offense. That’s what it looked like against Atlanta. DeRozan doesn’t help.

The difference in San Antonio is that all of their playmaking outside of DeRozan came from their guards, so it’s not as much of an issue to have him parked on the low block. The guards are operating from the top of the key and using pick-and-rolls.

With Randle, he’s frequently going to be operating from the elbow or the baseline and he needs that extra space in the paint to be effective.

If the team has a guard who isn’t a terrific 3-point shooter, at the very least, they’re going to be frequently hovering around the top of the key. If DeRozan isn’t clogging the paint, he’s going to oftentimes be stationed in the corner, Julius Randle’s favorite spot to kick out to open shooters like Barrett and Bullock. Now, that corner 3 isn’t even an option if it’s DeRozan getting the ball.

The unnatural fit on offense isn’t the only problem with this potential signing.