MIAMI — It’s exhausting to consider however we’re again right here with Julius Randle.
Even after his redemptive season. Even after his All-Star look and All-NBA choice, we’re again to a 12 months in the past: a time of urgent questions on whether or not Randle was geared up for this metropolis, and whether or not the Knicks are higher off delivery the facility ahead elsewhere as a result of there’s no reconciling the franchise’s vivid lights and loudly crucial fanbase with such a delicate persona.
Randle’s playoffs, to place it mildly, had been a catastrophe. He shot 37%. He gathered about as many turnovers as assists. Against Miami, he met an All-World defender in Bam Adebayo, couldn’t transfer him within the put up, and crumbled.
You can’t go from averaging 25 factors within the common season to 16 within the playoffs with out disappointment connected to the analysis. Yet Randle, who has by no means been keen to just accept his shortcomings, was very forgiving.
“Same thing as the [regular season],” Randle stated. “Some good moments, some moments to learn from.”
We hope Randle was simply being dismissive as a result of in any other case it’s delusional. Very Zach Wilson of him. There’s a giant distinction between an All-NBA common season and an All-Dud playoffs.
Contrast his feedback to that of RJ Barrett (who was extremely crucial of himself after his ugly capturing in Game 6) and Jalen Brunson (who by no means misses a chance to shoulder blame) and also you arrive at a disconnect between being a group chief and the necessity for consciousness and accountability.
Outside of Madison Square Garden, Knicks followers had been filmed ripping a poster of Randle off the wall and stomping it into the concrete. Another photograph surfaced of Randle’s poster getting scribbled over in white spray paint with, “Trade me.”
It was infantile and drunk conduct — emboldened by earlier social media movies celebrating Knicks followers debauchery — however underscored the little endurance afforded to Randle after 4 rollercoaster seasons.
Two issues could be true right here: the Knicks followers stomping on a poster are dummies, and Randle’s position deserves a correct reevaluation.
But like every thing with Randle, it’s sophisticated. On one hand, he’s a confirmed commodity within the common season — albeit pretty inconsistent — with a transparent drive to situation his physique and play each sport. You don’t get that always from an NBA All-Star.
On the opposite hand, his moodiness is a drag. He snaps at teammates, snaps at referees, snaps at coaches. He disengages from group huddles. Most alarmingly, Randle stops attempting on protection. When the going will get powerful, he will get going to someplace unproductive.
The apparent reply is to canvass the league to find out Randle’s commerce worth. If his postseason was too revealing for a powerful return, the Knicks ought to maintain on to their solely All-Star with the next clear understanding:
Randle isn’t the No. 1 or No. 2 on a contending group. He could also be introduced final within the lineups after inheriting that honor, however Brunson is the group chief and greatest participant until all these commerce belongings flip into someone higher. It’s a actuality the Knicks want to know to develop, to avoid wasting themselves from one other summer time of 2021 after they mistakenly thought tinkering round Randle would get them to a title.
Relying on Randle has gotten the Knicks solely to date. And that’s into the playoffs, the place the experience abruptly stopped in 2021 and once more in 2023.