The crashing and burning of Julius Randle has been one of the more startling headlines for the New York Knicks this season. After displaying All-Star form during the 2020–21 campaign, Randle has experienced a massive regression in scoring production and defensive efficiency.
Statistically, Randle is averaging just 18.5 points per game, 9.9 rebounds, and is shooting a measly 30.6% from three-point range. The Knicks have struggled to supplement his deficiencies this season, especially to start the new year, averaging just 16.4 points and shooting 24.2% from range.
Luckily for New York, RJ Barrett has managed to handle most of the offensive load, but the team has still lost six of their last seven games.
Ever since the media turned on Randle and he fired back with hostile remarks, his passion and effort have taken a nosedive. Against the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night, Randle showed little energy and failed to make an impact during the game, playing 37 minutes and scoring nine points.
Only one year ago, he was exerting maximum effort and running the full length of the floor to pick up a defender after a free throw attempt. After receiving a four-year, $117 million extension, it seems as if he’s thrown in the white towel, and he’s already giving up.
Does your MVP hustle like this pic.twitter.com/jvvfQY6bcV
— New York Basketball (@NBA_NewYork) May 12, 2021
Against Milwaukee, fellow power forward Obi Toppin went sprawling to the ground looking for a helping hand, but Randle looked at him and simply walked away.
Again, it's not just the poor play from Julius Randle that has infuriated Knicks fans.
Watch this clip from last night.
Randle sees Obi Toppin fall to the floor but refuses to help him up.
Can’t talk about being a leader and then act like that…
— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) January 29, 2022
This is a really bad sign for the Knicks, who need Randle to step up and provide leadership. Turning his back on a teammate is just one example of how far the apple has fallen from the tree.
Earlier this week, Randle reaffirmed his commitment to the team, stating that he still wants to bring a Championship to New York, but his body language doesn’t indicate that whatsoever.
“I still wanna be a part of helping trying to bring a championship to the Knicks.”
“We got the team,” he said. “We got the talent. We got the coach. … So, we definitely can do it.”
Randle did admit that things have been challenging this year, especially with the negative attention he’s been receiving and his lackluster scoring production.
“It’s been hard, but like my man J. Cole says, there’s beauty in the struggle,” he said, via The Athletic. “It’s a struggle. We’re trying to figure it out. But this is really where you find out what people are about. This is when you find out about the character of the guys on your team. … We still got a lot of games to play, so I’m excited to see how we push forward and push past it.”
When you’re earning $30+ million per season, there’s no excuse for lacking effort and care on the floor. If he wants to give up and disrupt the flow of his team, head coach Tom Thibodeau should simply bench him and give the minutes to a more worthy candidate.
This could be a primary reason reports indicated that Julius could be on the trade block at the deadline in several weeks, but it could all be hearsay until the Knicks actually make a move.