It is no secret that the New York Knicks struggle to lure star free agents to Madison Square Garden, but last season, they managed to secure two quality talents, with one of them being traded away for draft capital midway through the 2019-20 campaign. Signing Julius Randle and Marcus Morris, the Knicks hoped they could become more of an offensive threat, but the team still struggled and eventually elected to part ways with Morris. Nonetheless, Randle remained in New York after signing a three-year, $62 million deal last summer after the Knicks couldn’t convince any Premier options to join their ranks.
The former lottery pick, who has done great things for the community, tried to carry the load while the remainder of the team struggled. He ended up finishing the season with an average of 19.5 points, 3.1 assists, and 9.7 rebounds per game.
Overall, Randle’s statistics look quite good, averaging 32.5 minutes per contest, the most in his entire career. However, he was known as a ball hog and slowed down the entire offense with his style of play. The Knicks are looking to spread the floor more and become a better transition team, something they have failed to do in recent years.
The New York Knicks are going in a new direction:
With the Knicks allocating two first-round picks toward Obi Toppin and Immanuel Quickley, I expect to see more bully-ball in the paint and stretching the floor with shooting guards. Randle acts as a primary power forward, the role that Toppin is expected to fill. I would be surprised if President Leon Rose isn’t shopping Randle for the right price. He simply doesn’t fit into their style anymore with Tom Thibodeau taking over as head coach.
Toppin’s ability to shoot three-pointers and explode in transition makes him an immediate starter if being picked eighth overall wasn’t already an indicator of that fact. Coexisting with Randle will be difficult, considering both require the ball in their hands to turn possessions into points. The problem with Toppin is his defensive ability, which makes it hard for him to slide to the 3 because of his deficiencies in the category. Since both are questionable defenders, playing both of them at the same time could be malpractice.
“I think best case, they don’t play together that often and you share the 48 power-forward minutes,’’ former NBA scout Bryan Oringher told The Post. “You can get away with each of them as a small-ball 5 for a few minutes a game, but I really don’t think either can play the 3. As centers, they are obviously undersized, and your rim protection will be pretty porous.’’
Some believe that they will have to share power forward minutes, which doesn’t exactly bode well for Toppin’s development and Randle’s value based on cost. Nonetheless, the Knicks have been acquiring draft capital like water these days, and I imagine Julius could be another piece to the puzzle for their future draft hopes.