Julius Randle’s notable growth in Knicks’ preseason win can’t be ignored

The New York Knicks made their preseason debut on Tuesday in a 117-96 win over the Detroit Pistons. Fans get to see what a Jalen Brunson-led offense looks like in New York and RJ Barrett finished with a game-high 21 points. There was a lot to like about the Knicks’ performance.

Believe it or not, but Julius Randle was a positive in New York’s win, too. At Media Day, Randle acted noticeably different from the player that he was last season with a smile on his face and a new mindset. In his first game in Madison Square Garden in the 2022-23 season, Randle finished with 15 points (6-of-10), six rebounds, and four assists in 18 minutes.

After signing Brunson, Randle’s fit in the starting lineup was called into question even more so than it already had been. Like Barrett and Randle, the point guard operates best when he has the ball in his hands. Randle’s role is going to have to be the opposite of what it was last season for him and the Knicks to be successful, and on Tuesday, he showed signs of being a different player.

Julius Randle’s progression is going to be vital for the Knicks in 2022-23

Julius Randle looked a bit rusty in the first half, but his game started to click in the third quarter. The main takeaways from his performance were that his play in the first half didn’t negatively affect the team, he passed up good shots so that he could set his teammates up for better looks, and he stood out as a leader on the floor.

It’s important to remember that this was the first preseason game of the year and Randle’s already under a microscope because of 2021-22. It’s easy to critique him for the shots that he took in the first half, but adjustments were made and he looked like a new player in the second half.

It’s going to take more time for Randle’s game to evolve based on the players that are around him on the court. There’s no reason for him to have the ball in his hands as much as he did last season and that’s something that he’s still adjusting to, but regardless of how you feel about Randle, he showed growth.

After one preseason game, that’s all you can ask for from Julius Randle.