It’s simple, the New York Knicks need better from Julius Randle

NY Knicks, Julius Randle Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
NY Knicks, Julius Randle Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /

Last night, the New York Knicks suffered their worst loss of the season, in a season where we thought “the worst loss of the season” had already happened multiple times.

It’s been a completely different vibe for the Knicks in this 2021-22 season.

There just haven’t been “gutsy” wins. Wins where you have players underperforming or injuries, and yet your team is strong enough to squeak out a win. Those are nonexistent for the Knicks right now. Arguably the most significant factor in their lackluster play has been the tone set by their leader, Julius Randle.

The New York Knicks need more Julius Randle

There is blame to point in a lot of directions. We have seen so many Knicks players have disappointing stretches of basketball, but for this team to truly get back on track, they need their best player to get going.

Randle is someone who will impact the game in a lot of different ways.

Randle, whose usage rate ranks 44th in the NBA and highest on the Knicks, needs to get his scoring efficiency up.

What’s great about Randle’s game is that he can impact in so many different ways. Randle can have nights where he only scores 13-15 points but he hits double-digit assists or rebounds.

Except now, those 13-15 points are turning into 2-7 point nights, and you just cannot win games in the NBA when your best player is consistently scoring in the single digits.

He’s been hesitant, he’s been pressing, and perhaps most importantly, it’s begun to boil over into visible frustration night in and night out.

For me, it’s not even about getting angry on the court. The number of times we have seen NBA superstars get into it with the refs or other players or been involved in incidents where they needed to be restrained… that stuff is happening every year.

The real issue is the lack of accountability.

Julius Randle was not made available to the media after last night’s loss. The New York Knicks had RJ Barrett and Taj Gibson speaking to reporters after the game.

Is it fun for those players to do post-game interviews after a humiliating loss? Not at all, but it’s part of the job.

It’s a huge part of the job for Randle, who embraced being the current centerpiece of the franchise this offseason.

What’s even more puzzling is that Randle has dealt with this before.

The expectations were certainly not as high, but Julius Randle’s first season of the Knicks often saw him as the but end of the joke. He was the “consolation prize” of the offseason, his constant turnovers were always front and center of the team’s lackluster play.

Randle has literally acknowledged this publicly in multiple interviews, including his letter in the Player’s Tribune last season. The title of that piece was “Reputation”.

All it takes is acknowledgment. A simple “I know I need to play better and lead this team.”

I don’t there is anything going on between Randle and his teammates — from everything that’s been said and reported this season, Randle and his teammates are all homies. They’re chilling.

On a human level, no sane person is calling out Randle as a toxic human or bad person. This is strictly about basketball and leadership.

I think every one is getting sick of saying “there’s still a lot of season left”.

At this point, it’s either do or don’t.

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