With RJ Barrett out with knee soreness, the New York Knicks needed someone else to step up and score. Fans hoped that player would be Jalen Brunson or Julius Randle, but that duo shot an ugly 11-for-38 from the field.
Randle entered Wednesday averaging 15 points on 29.5% shooting from the floor and 32% from deep. He was due for a big game, but instead, his struggles continued. He shot 6-of-23 from the field (0-of-6 from deep) for six points in 35 minutes.
Brunson drew more charges (4) than Randle hit shots (3), which perfectly sums up New York’s night.
It’s typically Barrett who gets off to slow starts at the beginning of each season, but to kick off 2023-24, it’s been Randle. He underwent ankle surgery at the beginning of the offseason after spraining his left ankle in the regular season and the playoffs, and maybe that has something to do with it.
However, it’s hard to defend his lack of effort, and Randle didn’t play with any fire in the 95-89 loss.
Julius Randle continues rocky start to season in Knicks loss to Cavaliers
Odd years haven’t been kind to Julius Randle since he arrived in New York. His first season (2019-20) left much to be desired, but he followed it up with his first All-NBA/All-Star year in 2020-21. In 2021-22, Knicks fans were desperately hoping he’d be traded, but he followed that up with yet another All-NBA/All-Star season in 2022-23.
New York’s only five games into the season, so it’s still way too early to panic. It is concerning to see him miss so many shots at the rim, but again, maybe his summer recovery has something to do with that. It isn’t usual to get off to a rough start when you’re trying to get your legs back under you.
Tom Thibodeau said after the loss that the offseason was different for Randle because he couldn’t stick to his strict routine. The coach doesn’t seem too worried about the forward’s level of play, hence why he left him on the floor for 35 minutes. As a team, the Knicks’ shots weren’t falling, but Randle was a negative on both ends of the court.
Hopefully, Julius Randle can get back on track and look more like the player he was during the regular season last year. New York needs him and Jalen Brunson to be better.