After a pretty down season in 2021-22, many New York Knicks fans have grown tired of Julius Randle, wanting him gone after his second bad season in three years. However, in spite of all of this, I still believe there is a chance that Randle can go back to being a productive player.
While I understand he averaged 20.1 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 5.1 assists per game last season, you must realize that this stat line does not match what he does on the floor. He shot 41.1% from the field and 30.8% from three while also turning the ball over 3.4 times per game. Not to mention, he had a very questionable effort on defense at times.
For now, however, let us ignore all of that and understand that there is still hope for Randle to have a productive year next season — he just needs to enter a new role. Here is what we can potentially expect out of Julius Randle this season.
Julius Randle has a chance to be productive again with the Knicks
Prior to joining the Knicks, Randle was used as an off-ball, cut-to-the-rim slasher who could dish out an assist from the post every now and then. However, since joining the Knicks, he has taken on a much more ball-dominant role, which has caused the team pain time and time again.
I believe that Randle’s best chance to truly be a productive player again is to go back into this role and let both Jalen Brunson and RJ Barrett have more control over the ball. His inefficient shot selection and tunnel vision are going to do more damage than good, but he can greatly limit all of these negatives if he simply has the ball in his hands less and takes better shots.
While his contested mid ranges and fadeaways may have worked well for him in 2020-21, they failed him most of the time last season as teams began to take him more seriously as a shooter.
We all know that throughout the majority of his career, Randle has been best used as a slasher. So it makes a lot of sense for him to go back to doing that as his primary source of offense.
New teammates can help Randle return to form
Unless Randle is able to magically turn things around like he was able to in 2020-21, he will need to find a new way to efficiently score the ball, and Brunson can help him do that. The Knicks have not had a legitimate point guard in a very long time. If Brunson can continue to play the way he has his whole career, he will not only open up more holes for Randle in the paint, but he will also have the ability to be a primary ball handler over Randle.
I think most fans agree at this point that it would be a lot better for everyone on the Knicks if Randle had the ball in his hands less. He can still be the efficient scorer he used to be, but he just needs to play like he used to and attack the rim more often.
Not only will attacking the rim increase his production and efficiency, but if teams become aware of this threat, they may try to sag off of him so he can’t get around their defenders, opening up a door for a potential three-point percentage increase.
To keep it simple, take the ball out of Randle’s hands more, and let him play like he used to. Not only will it benefit Randle himself, but the whole time will flow and play much better.
However, if Randle does not wish to conform to this role and wishes to still take inefficient shots, then I believe the best thing to do is attempt to trade him to free the ball up. Having three ball-dominant players on the floor at the same time will not work very well, especially with Randle’s inability to shoot.
At the end of the day, I wish nothing but the best for Randle. However, he must realize that his quick stint as a shot creating, ball-dominant power forward are likely over and he must put the team above himself in order to help produce more wins.