The New York Knicks are facing a bit of an identity crisis just eight games into the season. As the players continue to gel and develop chemistry with several new faces injected into the mix, power forward, Julius Randle noted one specific detail that plays a big part in success.
After the Knicks got a bit too egotistical with their early-season triumph, reality hit them in the face like a ton of bricks. Dropping games to the Magic, Pacers, and Raptors, all teams they couldâ€™ve beaten with ease, they realize that their opponent simply wanted it more.
The Eastern Conference is stacked with great teams, and the players have acknowledged the quality of the members on the opposite bench every game, but that is no excuse for lacking hustle and effort.
Randle stated, Via the New York Post, that coming out with energy is a catalyst in winning games, whether it be during the regular or postseason.
â€œThe biggest thing is coming out with energy,â€ Randle said on Wednesday night. â€œWeâ€™ve been good on the road so far this year. We just got to come out with energy, come out with fight, an edge. Play Knicks basketball.
The Knicks dropped their first road game of the season against the Pacers on Wednesday night, but theyâ€™ve been mostly sufficient away. Surprisingly, theyâ€™ve lost more games in front of their home fans, maybe due to elevated expectations or early-season jitters.
Despite Randle stating that the team displays effort, separating them from the rest of the pack, head coach Tom Thibodeau and RJ Barrett have indicated that teams have simply outpaced them and shown more hustle.
â€œThatâ€™s who we are. Usually that gives us a pretty good shot every night, whether home or on the road,â€ Randle said.
There is no question that the team will continue to build upon their wins and develop an identity, but their lackluster defense so far has been a talking point.
Thibodeau relies on elite defense to give his team more opportunities to stay in the game and pull away with the offensive prowess. The Knicks still rank 2nd in the league in three-point percentage, but if they canâ€™t stop their opponents from scoring, they will be playing catchup instead of leading.