It wasn’t more than a year ago that Knicks‘ All-Star power forward Julius Randle was averaging 24+ points per night on average. Enjoying his best season to date, Randle justified a four-year, $117 million extension, but his fall-off this season has been dramatic.
Ranging from hostile remarks toward the media to a downward pointing thumb as fans questioned his passion for the team, Randle’s pedestal has shrunk to a mere tree-stump.
In fact, rumors have floated that Randle could be on the trade block in the coming days as the deadline quickly approaches on February 10. However, head coach Tom Thibodeau still believes in his star forward, even if he’s had a progressively more difficult time controlling his efficiency and extracting his true potential.
Whether Randle’s ego has consumed his selflessness or he’s simply regressing to the mean, the veteran has been a shell of his former self, putting the Knicks in a progressively more difficult position.
“Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau has admitted to associates he’s had more trouble getting Randle to play with a selflessness this season than during last season,” an NBA source told Marc Berman of the New York Post.
Berman also noted that some believe Randle could be trying to justify his massive contract extension with more burdon regarding scoring production. The problem is that sometimes the best way to excrete value is simply playing a complementary role.
With RJ Barrett averaging over 20 points per game to start the new year, Randle has fallen to the No. 2 scoring option, which isn’t necessarily a problem.
The issue lies more in his disdain for not being the top scorer but being the Robin to RJ’s Batman. The roles are reversing, and Randle seemingly can’t handle the downgrade.
Randle is averaging a measly 16.4 points per game and shooting 24.2% from the 3-PT range to start the new year. Alternatively, Barrett is blossoming into the star New York needs him to be, which coincides directly with Julius’s regression, oddly.
If the two can’t find a way to thrive together, the Knicks will have to make a big change, and it might involve sending Randle packing.