Julius Randle’s comeback
And yet, just as he did following his dreadful first season in New York, Randle made a remarkable comeback. While some fans still would rather trade Randle than keep the now two-time All-Star, their issue is with the timeline and direction of the franchise rather than Randle himself. Even the most anxious and/or spiteful Knicks fans will admit that Randle has earned back respect for what he has done so far in 2022-23.
So, what has changed that allowed Randle to get back to All-Stardom? How has New York been able to play winning basketball again with Randle as a driving force? And most interestingly, how is it that Randle’s wild Knicks journey has led him back to this peak despite devastating lows?
Now that Randle is back to being an All-Star after a one year, we’ll call it, “hiatus,” I wanted to write an article answering these questions and comparing this 22-23 campaign to the 21-22 season. I revisited my article from nine months ago titled, “A non-clinical examination of Julius Randle and his 2021-22 Knicks campaign” to look back on everything that went down. I recommend checking it out because the goal was to break down and list as much as possible that went wrong for Randle last season to try and determine what he needed to do to return to All-Star form.
In so many words, I determined that most of Randle’s statistical regression, inconsistent production and attitude, and antics were the result of him struggling to be mentally stable game to game, moment to moment. No doubt, the defining characteristics of Randle’s Knicks tenure are the euphoric, historically insane highs and the pitiful, frustratingly insane lows. If you think these last three-plus years have taken a toll on the fans, just imagine the toll it’s taken on the man at the center of it all.
It was clear to me after writing that piece that for Randle to bounce back he needed to find a way to lift himself back up mentally – to figure out how to be better prepared on the court, how to be a good leader and teammate, and how to hold himself accountable – because from there then he can just go out onto the court and ball. Thankfully, Randle has done all of this and more.