1: Who is the number one option?
For nearly all of the regular season last year, Randle was the Knicks’ number-one scorer, with Brunson close behind. His 25.1 points and 18.6 shots per game paced the rest of the roster, while Brunson averaged 24.0 on 17.6 attempts, respectively.
Then, the script flipped in the playoffs. Brunson shined in the pressure-filled environment, averaging 27.8 points while taking 20.9 attempts to do so. Randle faltered, scoring just 16.6 each night while taking 14.7 shots.
Most signs point to Brunson taking over as New York’s top scorer, but another strong regular season from Randle could result in the third All-Star appearance of his career and increased scoring opportunities.
It’s not a coincidence that his most efficient season as a Knick happened while having an elite point guard to play alongside. At 28 years old, he’s also in the prime of his career.
There’s a smaller question regarding Thibodeau’s willingness to occasionally stagger Brunson and Randle’s minutes. This would allow both of them to operate as a top option for multiple stretches at a time in each game.
New York not only has playoff expectations this year, but they’ll be looking to potentially make it to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2000. Figuring out most of their rotation as well as their top option before the end of training camp would help them get started on the right foot as they work towards that goal.