Knicks’ star power forward dragging offense down to open season

nba: new york knicks at new orleans pelicans, julius randle
Matthew Dobbins-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks commenced their season with a 1–2 tally, culminating in a lackluster showing against the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday night. The team’s offense sputtered, mustering a mere 87 points to the Pelicans’ 96, a shortfall magnified by power forward Julius Randle’s underwhelming shooting display.

Randle’s Shooting Woes for the Knicks

Despite launching his season with notable gusto, Randle has found himself mired in a shooting slump, averaging only 13.7 points and recording a .277 shooting efficiency from the field and .300 from beyond the arc. His contributions haven’t been entirely dim, with averages of 11.7 rebounds and 6.7 assists per game—stats that underscore his tenacity in rebounding and ball distribution. However, his shooting woes have intermittently hampered the team’s offensive rhythm.

Randle’s struggles were on full display Saturday night, as he converted just 4 of 15 field goal attempts and missed all his three-point endeavors. His night ended with 10 points, a -11 plus/minus ratio, and a startling eight turnovers, a performance that many perceived as instrumental in the Knicks’ downfall despite a collective three-point shooting inefficiency of 18.9%.

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Signs of Life Amidst Inconsistencies

In stark contrast was their triumph over the Atlanta Hawks the preceding evening, where the Knicks racked up 126 points, albeit conceding 120. They exhibited prowess from three-point territory, hitting 45.5%. Randle chipped in 17 points, albeit with a 4-for-10 shooting record.

While his rebounding and assist tallies have consistently impressed, the team’s dynamism has largely hinged on Jalen Brunson and RJ Barrett. Barrett’s season outset has been particularly robust, complemented by spirited contributions from the likes of Donte DiVincenzo, whose bench presence has injected much-needed verve.

Looking Forward: Building Chemistry and Eyeing Victories

Though the Knicks’ season kickoff might be characterized as tepid, the seeds of potential are unmistakable. As team chemistry coalesces, a more consistent winning cadence is anticipated. The squad’s sights are now set on their rendezvous with the Cleveland Cavaliers, scheduled for Tuesday evening at 7:30 PM.

Matching the Knicks’ 1–2 start, the Cavaliers are not without their threats, prominently featuring Donovan Mitchell and Evan Mobley. Mitchell, off to a blistering start, is averaging an astonishing 35 points per game, buoyed by a 54.2% shooting accuracy from the field.