Can the Knicks rely on Julius Randle to step up?

Julius Randle, New York Knicks
Mar 3, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) salutes the victory over the Miami Heat after his last second shot gave the Knicks the win at Miami-Dade Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

The goal for the New York Knicks this offseason has been improving their roster which seems to be just one piece away from serious contention. The organization has taken steps to cultivate head Coach Tom Thibodeau’s culture and reshift the team’s identity.

With Julius Randle leading the way in New York’s upset win over Cleveland last playoffs, the team is aiming to make it past the second round of the postseason this time around. But can New York rely on Randle to get them deeper into the playoffs? 

Can Julius Randle be relied on in the postseason?

In last season’s playoff series against the Miami Heat, Randle was struggling on both sides of the ball. After missing game one due to an ankle injury, Randle suited up to average 19 points per game on 41% from the field and 28% from beyond the arc in the series.

Things didn’t seem to go Randle’s way, and his body language, as well as post-game press conferences, told the story as he delivered the infamous “Maybe they want it more,” statement.

Randle’s passion for the game can be seen as him being frustrated, but if he didn’t want to win just as much as the rest of the players, he wouldn’t have even been on the floor. The heart of Randle goes without question, but Knicks fans would like a consistently reliable first option by the time the playoffs begin.

Can Randle remain the Knicks’ centerpiece of the future?

The talks of a big-name signing have also infiltrated the Knicks fanbase. Bill Simmons, Boston die-hard and NBA media name-stay made it clear on a recent podcast episode that “Giannis, Embiid or Mitchell will be a member of the New York Knicks next season.”

Simmons’ comments have put extra pressure on the Knicks’ stars. For a star of said caliber to join New York, that would possibly result in the end of Randle’s tenure with the franchise. Keeping a pairing of Randle and Giannis, for example, means clogging lanes and less room for either of them to be dominant.

This upcoming season is crucial for Randle and the Knicks as they look to build on last season’s playoff run. An injury-riddled series for Randle left a sour taste in many fans’ mouths. But he’s already getting ready for this season, preparing to take another step forward, as he has throughout his whole career. 

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