Former NBA player suggests Knicks are better without Julius Randle

New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) reacts during the fourth quarter against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks made the playoffs as the second seed in the Eastern Conference without All-Star power forward Julius Randle for a large part of the second half of the season. Since Jan. 28, the day after Randle suffered a dislocated shoulder, New York is 21-15, compared to 29-17 in the first 46 games with him.

Are the Knicks better off without Julius Randle?

Many have wondered if the Knicks still can make a deep playoff run this year without him. Former NBA player Eddie House said that the Knicks don’t need Randle to remain as title contenders.

“The Knicks are better off without Julius Randle,” said House on Fox Sports’ The Carton Show. “And I’m gonna tell you why, because he’s a ball-stopper. … So now you’ve got two guys that are gonna dominate the ball.

“I think Jalen … he dominates the ball, but he’s gonna get others involved. Right? Where Julius Randle is looking just to get his. He’s not really a playmaker, you can’t really play off of him. You’ll just be standing, a statue waiting for him to pass if he doesn’t have a shot.”

The Big 3 of Randle, Anunoby, and Brunson didn’t get much time together

The Knicks didn’t get a large sample size of what Randle’s fit looks like with the addition of OG Anunoby, but the 12 games the trio of Randle, Anunoby, and Brunson have played together and have shown massive potential, going 11-1 in those games. In the month of January, the team went 14-2, with the league’s best net rating at 15.8.

Bringing in Anunoby may have helped Randle expand his offensive game, as the scoring attack became multifaceted in several different ways thanks to the additional floor spacing. Without Randle, the Knicks have had to search for ways to make up for his lost production.

Randle averaged 24 points, 9.2 rebounds, and five assists per game while shooting 47.2% from the field, and was named an All-Star for the third time in four seasons.

It will be tough getting through the postseason without Randle

While it is not impossible for the Knicks to go on a run without Randle thanks to Jalen Brunson’s MVP-caliber season, it will undoubtedly be tougher. Opposing teams are likely going to focus on stopping Brunson, leaving the Knicks without a second star option to keep defenses on their heels.

The Knicks will also be missing Randle’s ability to draw double teams, an underrated part of his game that would give the scorers around him clean looks both inside the paint and outside the arc.

New York will play the winner of the Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers play-in game matchup in the first round, which starts on Saturday. This will be the true test of whether or not they can survive without Randle.

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