Knicks’ Julius Randle facing ‘most challenging’ place to win

New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) shoots the ball during the first quarter against the Milwaukee Bucks at Madison Square Garden
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The ‘City That Never Sleeps’ shines the brightest lights on everything within it. Madison Square Garden is no exception, and for New York Knicks All-Star Julius Randle, they’ve presented the biggest challenge for him in his career.

Randle sat down in an interview with Shams Charania of The Athletic and touched on his burning drive to win, and how the overall atmosphere in New York has challenged him to be his best, whch Charania shared via Twitter yesterday:

Knicks: Big Crowds at Kentucky and in Los Angeles Have Hardened Randle to Manage Pressure

As Randle also noted, his experience playing in other big markets such as Los Angeles with the Lakers and New Orleans as a member of the Pelicans acclimated him to bearing large expectations and dealing with crazed fanbases.

New York takes things to a different level, even beyond that of other major cities across the U.S. Randle has dealt with the intensity of the media during some of his low points in previous playoff appearances and regular season stretches, and has also seen the crowd at MSG sing his praises with 50-point games and clutch performances.

Randle Looking Like His Old Self in Monster Month of December

The beginning of the year was not kind to Randle, as his struggles from the field and the three-point line had the media questioning whether he could be the guy to spearhead a championship run for the Knicks.

He’s since turned that corner and has mirrored his effectiveness from the 2022-23 campaign. In the month of December, Randle is one of only three players averaging at least 26 points and eight rebounds on greater than 55 percent shooting from the field, and he’s also shot a staggering 92.1 percent from the charity stripe.

Randle is Not the Only Knicks Star That’s Been Held to a High Standard in New York

The Knicks are currently in playoff contention and had their home crowd rocking in their most recent 129-122 win over the Milwaukee Bucks. Randle has taken a secondary role to Jalen Brunson in the offense thus far, but has found ways to still be effective and appease the city with his play.

It looks as if prior criticisms Randle has faced for everything from ineffectiveness in using his right hand to delivering wins when they matter most are behind him. Now, recent scrutiny has turned to Brunson, which just goes to show that New York and everyone in it will always find something to harp on until they get their first championship in 40 years and counting.