The New York Knicks are riding a roller coaster to start the season. They started out 2-4 before rebounding back to .500 with wins over the LA Clippers and San Antonio Spurs. The seesaw should continue, as the schedule ahead is a mix of Eastern Conference lottery teams like the Charlotte Hornets and Washington Wizards, and teams out to a hot start like the Boston Celtics and Minnesota Timberwolves.
The issue for the Knicks hasn’t been their defense; they rank second in the league in defensive rating, holding opponents to just 105.3 points per 100 possessions and smothering teams by forcing turnovers and clearing the glass (first in defensive rebounding percentage).
The problem for the Knicks is on the offensive end. They were among the worst teams in the league in offensive rating before their past two get-right wins, elevating them to a mediocre 21st one year after finishing third. There are a number of culprits, but the primary one is Julius Randle.
Do the Knicks need to trade Randle?
Julius Randle has improved his shooting splits for the season by going a combined 17-for-40 over the past two games (42.5 percent). For the season he is shooting just 31.6 percent from the field and 25.9 from deep. His combination of poor efficiency and volume is historically bad.
In the last 20 seasons, there have been 1,259 player seasons where a player took at least 100 shots in their first eight games of the year. Of those 1,259 seasons, Randle’s start to the season ranks 1,240th, or 20th-worst. If you elevate the criteria to those who took at least 135 shots he is the absolute worst player on the list. No one in at least two decades has ever combined Randle’s volume with his inefficiency to start the season.
And even when he begins to shoot better, the underlying problem is not changing: Randle is a high-volume, low-efficiency player who doesn’t raise the Knicks’ ceiling, and he fades in the playoffs every season.
It may be time for the Knicks to move Randle, before his value further craters and before he puts them too far behind the eight-ball to secure a top seed in the playoffs. What could the Randle trade look like for New York? Let’s look at three different trades to help the Knicks move on from Randle and upgrade the offense.
All stats updated through games played 11/8