New York Knicks: The key to balancing Julius Randle and Obi Toppin

New York Knicks, Julius Randle, Obi Toppin. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
New York Knicks, Julius Randle, Obi Toppin. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /
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New York Knicks
Julius Randle, New York Knicks. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /

New York Knicks: Julius Randle minute decrease

In no way is this some sort of Obi Toppin > Julius Randle argument, but rather, it could be beneficial for both players to have their minutes adjusted.

After leading the NBA in minutes last season, Randle has been averaging 35.2 minutes per game, 18th in the NBA.

Suggesting that those minutes get shaved down by around 3 per game, closer to 32, may not seem like much of a difference.

However, if you go through Randle’s game logs, you’ll see that he’s right around 38-40 minutes per night in almost all of the Knicks “close” games where it comes down to the final minutes.

For a player who is asked to not just orchestrate a lot of the offense but take a lot of physical stress in the paint, shaving off a few minutes might do wonders in keeping Randle fresh late in games.

Randle frequently plays the entire first quarter, something I just do not understand.

The absence of Derrick Rose plays a big factor in Randle’s meshing with the 2nd unit, no doubt.

Yet bringing on guys like Quickley and Grimes with Randle out there with 3 minutes left in the first quarter — it’s not the best formula for getting those two a lot of touches and getting them into a rhythm.

It feels like we always have these moments where the starters aren’t producing any offense, end up going on 2-12 run, and Tom Thibodeau just leaves them out there for no reason. As if this is NBA 2K and his lineup minutes are at an exact amount that will not change no matter the circumstance.

The flow of the game is always out of sync for the New York Knicks.

Last year, for better or for worse, you always knew what to expect from the starters and the bench. You knew what every New York Knicks game would look like.

Caught in the middle of this inharmonious roster is Obi Toppin.