On Thursday, October 28th, Julius Randle stepped to the free-throw line for two attempts with 5.1 seconds remaining in a one-point ballgame.
As you all know by now, he missed both shots.
Couple those two misses with a 27.3% shooting night (per NBA.com’s box score), and the Twitter takes flew:
Julius Randle is awful.
Make way for Obi Toppin.
Stop letting him run the offense. Let Kemba Walker or RJ Barrett do it.
As you all also know by now, the NY Knicks won the aforementioned game. And while Randle only shot 27.3% he also finished with a line of 13-16-9.
Empty stats said the Twitter hot takers.
Is Julius Randle the NY Knicks’ most impactful player?
I want to put this in no uncertain terms: That’s utter nonsense. The Knicks do not win that game without his contributions. They certainly aren’t 4-1 without him.
Yes, Randle did not shoot it well against the Bulls, but he also only took 11 shots. Barrett, Evan Fournier, and Walker all finished with more field goal attempts than him.
Derrick Rose played 18 minutes, but only took one less shot than Randle did in almost 35.
Now let’s zoom out a bit.
There are some other important data points everyone should know before they begin writing Randle off.
First, Julius is averaging 23.2 points, 12.2 rebounds, and 7.0 assists per game thus far, according to Basketball-Reference. If those numbers hold, they would be career highs in both rebounds and assists.
He currently has a PER of 22.3 which would also be above his career average.
No one is arguing that Randle is shooting the ball well. He has his lowest eFG% as a Knick and the third-lowest of his career.
He also currently has career highs in assist percentage and assist:usage ratio, and the lowest turnover percentage of his career from Cleaning the Glass.
Those same data points are not bright spots for Barrett or Walker.
That stuff is really, really impactful.
And it doesn’t matter which other Knicks you play alongside him.
The Knicks have ten different lineups that are +2.0 or higher. Randle is a member of nine out of those ten.
That is more than any other Knicks player. Rose is closest with eight. Barrett plays in five of those lineups. Toppin is only a member of four. Walker is in for just two.
Randle’s shooting may or may not come around this season, but he still has the biggest impact on winning.