Is this the beginning of a New York Knicks redemption arc?

Evan Fournier, New York Knicks. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Evan Fournier, New York Knicks. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports /
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New York Knicks
New York Knicks, Julius Randle (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

The New York Knicks need Julius Randle’s playmaking

Randle is going to be the leader of this offense because of his talent. There aren’t many players with his size and strength who have his level of quickness, scoring off the dribble, and vision.

The problem is, he’s been extremely inconsistent and Knicks fans saw this two years ago.

Randle is a tremendous basketball player and from what I’ve seen this season, the main issue is that he’s trying to be too perfect. He’s pressing, he’s taking a ton of time to make decisions, he wants each decision to be correct.

He needs to trust himself more. Make faster decisions. You see the indecisiveness when he’s shooting the ball.

It’s been brought up many times this season, the amount of pump fakes on open 3-pointers. You have to wonder if that’s something coming from the analytics department. We didn’t really see this last year, and it hasn’t been working so far this season.

This is where you pair the eye test with statistics.

Randle is shooting 32.8% on catch-and-shoot 3-pointers this season on 3.3 attempts per game. 

Last year, he shot 41.7% on catch-and-shoot 3-pointers on 3.8 attempts per game.

That’s not just regression, that’s falling off a cliff.

You can just see it as you watch the games, how it feels like an open catch-and-shoot isn’t his first choice. The first choice is to pump fake it and drive and it’s affecting his rhythm. You take those open looks.

This is a Randle issue and a team-wide issue as well. The Knicks were 19th in catch-and-shoot 3-pointer attempts last season and shot 40.2%! 

This season, they are 2nd last in the league in attempts and shooting 36.0%.

This is a superb shooting team. There are shooters all over the floor in any given lineup. They need to let it fly.

Credit to Max Hoover who also writes for DailyKnicks, who has been beating the drum on highlighting the “potential assists” from Julius Randle and how the Knicks haven’t been knocking down the open looks he’s been providing with his passes.

From the playmaking side of things, Randle has looked a lot stronger and decisive lately. He was a big reason the Knicks were able to come back against the Celtics last night and it’s starting to become infectious.

This was actually a mailbag question on a recent episode of one of my favorite podcasts, “Real Ones” with Logan Murdock and Raja Bell. A listener asked how often do players improvise and stray away from the offense or play design of the coach.

What did former NBA player Raja Bell and longtime NBA reporter Logan Murdock answer?

“All the damn time!”

This team feels like they’re trying too hard to run structured plays.

They need to trust in their own talent while playing to one another’s strengths. It feels like they’re finally starting to do exactly that.

It’s taken some time to play with each other. There have been some major low points, but guess what — in spite of all of the negativity and doomsday talk, the New York Knicks are currently a play-in team and are 2.5 games back of the 6th seed in the playoffs.

This group has what it takes to be a playoff team and they may have just started to figure it out.

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