Julius Randle’s disappearing act dooms Knicks in loss to Pelicans

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After Knicks‘ power forward Julius Randle tapped in a two point field goal with the clock expiring in the first half, he shouted an explicative toward the referee, drawing a technical foul that took place to start the second half.

The Knicks were outmatched entirely by the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday night, being out scored 102–91. Randle was out of sorts, complaining to the referees and missing shots at an incredible rate. He posted the worst +/- of the entire game at -26. He finished with just four points, and while he did pick up six assists in the process, the Knicks are never going to win games without his scoring production.

Randle has been a shell of his former All-Star-self, averaging an abysmal 31% from three point range and 19.1 points per game, down five compared to his 2020–21 campaign. The Knicks don’t stand a chance against more competitive teams without their star player elevating everyone around him, and now the club has strung together three consecutive losses — you better believe the front office will be looking for more talent at the deadline.

In recent days, New York has been linked to Dallas point guard Jalen Brunson after the acquisition of Cam Reddish. The reality is simple, Randle can’t handle the bright lights of New York and carry the team on his back.

However, it wasn’t just Julius who struggled against the Pelicans, the entire team looked tired and wayward. Mitchell Robinson had the best game out of the five starters, recording 17 points and 15 rebounds, including seven offensive. Every starter aside from Robinson posted a +/- of -20 or worse.

As a team, Tom Thibodeau‘s squad recorded a 23.7% rate from three point range and shot 37.7% from the field. To make matters even worse, they connected on just 66.7% of their free throws. Every starter for New Orleans posted double-digit points, including 18 from Jonas Valanciunas and 15 from Brandon Ingram.

Somehow, the Knicks need to find a way to reinvigorate their passion and flow, because they simply have no rhythm in their game. If the Knicks don’t make a big splash at the deadline, they may regress from last season and miss the playoffs when it’s all said and done.

3 keys for the Knicks to beat the Pelicans and get back to .500

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The New York Knicks have an excellent opportunity to get back in the win column against the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday night at 7:30 PM. After losing consecutive games to the Charlotte Hornets and Minnesota Timberwolves, it has become clear that New York lacks a legitimate point guard.

Despite having Kemba Walker against the Timberwolves, scoring 19 points, the team needs a floor general that can facilitate and be unselfish. That is a primary reason the front office has been connected to players like Jalen Brunson as of late as the trade deadline nears.

However, with New Orleans struggling considerably away the season, the Knicks have a great opportunity to bring their record back to .500.

Three keys for the Knicks to overcome the Pelicans:

1.) Take advantage of struggling New Orleans team on the road

The Pelicans have lost five consecutive games on the road, with their last two defeats coming against the Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics. They scored just 92 points against Boston, blowing an 18 point lead in the first half.

On the year, the Pelicans are 6–17 in road games, and without Zion Williamson, they have found success hard to come by. They average 13.6 turnovers per game and are just 5–12 when winning the turnover battle. This is the second time the Knicks will take on New Orleans this year, with RJ Barrett posting 35 points in the previous win.

2.) Limit Jonas Valanciunas and Brandon Ingram

If the Knicks want to stop New Orleans, limiting Jonas Valanciunas and Brandon Ingram is the most efficient strategy.

Valanciunas is averaging 18.4 points and 12 rebounds per game as one of New Orleans’s best players. Ingram is contributing 22.7 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 5.2 assists out of the small forward position. They are far and away their best players without Zion available.

Luckily for the Knicks, they have fantastic interior defense, but Valanciunas is shooting 42.4% from three-point range as a big man, which is an incredible number. Ingram is hitting 34%, but the Pelicans are shooting 33.7% as a team, giving the Knicks a healthy advantage from beyond the arc.

3.) Need more from Immanuel Quickley at point guard

With Derrick Rose still several weeks away from being evaluated to return, the Knicks have had to rely on their youth and veteran Alec Burks supplement the point guard position. Walker was offensively effective in their most recent loss to the Timberwolves, but the team simply needs more from Quickley at point guard when he is on the floor.

Over the last four games, Quickley has scored double-digit points just once again Charlotte with 12.

Quickley also recorded 7.0 assists against Charlotte, but in the other three games during that four-game stretch, he has a total of just five assists and 11 points.

The entire bench has been off recently, but the team needs Quickley to find his groove and offer quality play in the absence of Rose.

Can the Knicks wait out Derrick Rose’s injury? | Trade deadline offers a solution

derrick rose, knicks

Nearly four weeks have passed since New York Knicks veteran point guard Derrick Rose underwent surgery on his right ankle, ruling him out for a minimum of eight weeks. Rose is expected to make a return in just over a month, barring any setbacks with his rehabilitation.

With the trade deadline coming up on February 10, the Knicks have a big decision to make, waiting on Rose to make a heroic return or acquiring a point guard to help smoothen the load for the remainder of the season.

Rose remains in good spirits, spending time around the team and working through the process to heal his ankle. In his absence, though, the Knicks have lacked a true floor general and leader on the court.

Just a week ago, reserve center Taj Gibson spoke of Rose’s mentality, per The Post.

“I think his mindset is great,” Gibson said. “He was smiling, he was happy. He understands that it’s a process as far as getting mentally right, but making sure you can perform at 110 percent. And knowing where we’re at in the standings (11th place in the Eastern Conference entering Tuesday) and we’re just right there and knowing he’s coming back, so we’ve still got some time to make up some ground. I think he’s on a positive note.”

Prior to Derrick’s injury, he was averaging 12 points, 4.0 assists, and shooting 40% from three point range this season. At 33 years old, he was tallying 24.5 minutes on average per game, so the Knicks have had to supplement him with Alec Burks, Immanuel Quickley, and even Miles McBride at times.

Unfortunately, at this point in Kemba Walker’s career, he’s not able to lessen the impact of Rose’s absence, mainly because of a difference in play style. Walker is a purebred scorer but lacks the vision and facilitation that Rose brings to the table.

That is why the Knicks have been connected to a variety of players, including Jalen Brunson from the Dallas Mavericks.

Brunson is an exciting young player who is looking for a big contract extension after the current season. Brunson has several ties to the Knicks, having grown up in New Jersey and his father playing for the Knicks and coaching under Tom Thibodeau in Chicago.

This season, Brunson is averaging 16 points, 5.7 assists, and shooting 50% from the field over 31 minutes per game. This is the most action Brunson has received in his career, but with reports indicating he’s looking for a four-year, $80 million contract extension, the Knicks might be hesitant to bite. However, if they bring him in and he performs at a high-level, they might’ve found their young point guard of the future.

“Brunson faces a similar market, but the guard is believed by many to be seeking near a four-year, $80 million contract,” wrote Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report. “That is a large number, especially for a player that several competing executives think is too big of a target defensively in the playoffs.”

There are plenty of impacting factors for Tom Thibodeau and his team, but the main question is, can they outlast Derrick Rose’s injury and be in a good spot to contend for a postseason spot once he returns?

Currently, the Knicks sit one game below .500 and have fallen out of play-in contention with the Boston Celtics manning the 10th seed.

Knicks: Could a Tom Thibodeau, Karl-Anthony Towns reunion be in the future?

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The New York Knicks watched Karl-Anthony Towns tantalize them up and down the court on Tuesday night, the team’s second-straight loss despite a resilient offensive effort. However, the Knicks’ energy wasn’t enough, even with a roaring MSG crowd, a group desperate to get behind Julius Randle and let bygones be bygones.

Randle had a solid game, recording 21 points, 9 assists, 9 rebounds, and four blocks.

More often than not this season, the bench has come to the aid of the starters, but they struggled significantly against the Timberwolves. Alec Burks posted a big, fat zero on the scoreboard, missing the team’s final shot of the game from 3-PT range despite only needing two.

Head coach Tom Thibodeau hasn’t been able to replicate the success from last season with his perceived star players regressing to the mean. The reality is simple, Thibs needs a star and one that fits his mold.

That player was always Karl-Anthony Towns, who drew rave reviews from his former coach before Tuesday’s game.

“He’s as gifted as they come,” Thibs said, via Ian O’Connor of The Post. “He’s a 7-footer that has guard skills. He can shoot the 3 like a guard. He can put it on the floor like a guard. He can make plays. He can post up. He’s a great offensive rebounder. … You’ve got to guard him with your team.”

Thibodeau worked KAT to the bone during his time with the Timberwolves. There may be a perceived notion that Thibodeau and KAT had beef, but O’Connor reports the relationship between the two isn’t bad at all.

Would Thibodeau want a Round 2 with the center after such a messy end to Round 1? One person close to the Knicks coach said that Thibs might need would some convincing from Leon Rose, Towns’s former agent, to agree to a deal. A second person close to the coach said that Thibs’ relationship with the center in Minnesota wasn’t half as bad as it was portrayed and that he would welcome a reunion.

Interestingly, there’s a more intriguing part to this quote other than Thibodeau’s ever-lasting love for Anthony-Towns. Specifically, “Would Thibodeau want a Round 2 with the center after such a messy end to Round 1?”
Is it remotely possible that the Knicks could make a huge run at KAT and inject their team with a legit star? Could KAT fit with Randle? Or would Julius have to put a part of the behemoth swap? The Knicks saw first-hand what KAT is capable of on Tuesday evening.
Considering Leon Rose is Towns’s former agent, there’s an obvious connection between the two sides. Throw in the fact that KAT is from New Jersey, and it gets even more personal. The last time Towns made it to the post-season, his coach was Thibs, so there’s an incentive to strike a deal down the road if Alex Rodriguez is unwilling to offer him an extension.
What do you think about the prospect of the Knicks making a run at Karl-Anthony Towns? 

Knicks squander comeback with poor 4th quarter against Timberwolves

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With 23 seconds left on the clock, the New York Knicks had an opportunity to put away the Minnesota Timberwolves after Patrick Beverley missed one of two free throws. Needing just a two-point shot, Alec Burks heaved up a three-point attempt to try and win the game, having missed his previous two attempts and scoring zero points in the first three quarters.

Burks’s shot bounced off the rim into Minnesota arms, dropping the Knicks below .500 for the second time this season after enjoying a three-game win streak that the Charlotte Hornets broke on Monday afternoon.

Once again, the Knicks stare themselves in the face wondering what they could’ve done differently. Performing better in the fourth quarter would’ve been a good start after posting 40 points in the third quarter against the Timberwolves.

The Knicks’ starters performed admirably on the evening, with Julius Randle recording 21 points, nine assists, and nine rebounds. He missed all four of his three-point attempts but also contributed four blocks and two steals. Randle was far from the problem in the loss, as the bench contributed a combined 18 points on 14 attempts from the field.

After starting the new year on fire, RJ Barrett came crashing back down to earth on Tuesday evening, recording a game-high seven turnovers. While he did add 17 points to the Knicks’ 110 total, his lackluster ball-handling cost the team multiple opportunities to put points on the board. Barrett has earned a down game after recording three 30+ point contests to open 2022.

As a whole, New York shot a measly 31.6% from three-point range but did record 44 rebounds compared to Minnesota’s 38. The turnovers were the difference, as the Knicks piled on 18 and the Timberwolves posted just 12.

One way or another, the Knicks need to find ways to win competitive games at home. If they somehow managed to scrape their way into the postseason, their home court needs to provide an advantage, otherwise they will be exiting early once again this season. The team will look ahead to the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday night, a team that has won just 16 games this year and lost two consecutive.

Knicks: Hawks’ GM Travis Schlenk details what Cam Reddish is bringing to New York

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Earlier this season, Cam Reddish requested a trade as a result of his role on the Atlanta Hawks. Subsequently, the Hawks found a trade partner in the New York Knicks, sending Reddish to the Big Apple, providing him an opportunity for a more expanded function.

However, there are concerns that Reddish is entering a situation that might be a bit murkier than estimated. The Knicks don’t have minutes to give away at this point, which is why head coach Tom Thibodeau indicated he would have to fight for his opportunity to make an impact.

“I don’t know until he gets here,” Thibodeau said last Friday “Our scouts evaluated him and they feel strongly about him, so we’ll see.”

Whether Reddish will be stealing minutes from Quentin Grimes, Obi Toppin, or even Immanuel Quickley, it is yet to be seen if he can make an impact as a small forward on a team that predominantly works with shooting guards and power forwards. Nonetheless, the former Duke star has earned great reviews from many, including Atlanta Hawks GM Travis Schlenk.

“He’s a super high talent. We all see that,” Hawks GM Travis Schlenk said, via The Athletic. “He’s got great length. He’s got great size. He’s got great skill level, but we’re trying to blend the team, so we have to take all of that stuff into consideration. He can certainly go on to have an All-Star-caliber career, and I wouldn’t be shocked at all by that, but he wouldn’t be the first player who didn’t have that All-Star-caliber career with the first team who drafted him either.

This season, Reddish has experienced a tremendous increase in shooting efficiency, elevating his three-point percentage from 26% to 38% in just one off-season. He’s also averaging 11.9 points over 23.4 minutes compared to 11.2 over 28.8 minutes last season.

The statistical developments indicate growth as a player, but the Hawks simply couldn’t find the right role for him, which is why they canvassed the league for a trade.

“Sometimes for whatever the reason, things don’t click. I completely understand where New York comes from. If I was New York and I had (two) first-round draft picks with the way they do and you look at Cam Reddish’s potential, I get that.”

New York has welcomed Reddish with open arms, joining former duke teammate RJ Barrett. Reddish has experienced the volatility of the Knicks’ season so far in just two games, witnessing a paramount wind= over the Atlanta Hawks, his former team, and a devastating loss against the Charlotte Hornets where they lacked energy.

If there is one place Reddish can make a significant impact, it is in the energy department and catalyze breaking cold shooting performances from the team. The Knicks were ice cold against Charlotte, and they could’ve used a spark off the bench. If Reddish can energize his team and give them a chance at a comeback, that could be a handy quality.

However, Cam is still several games away from making a return as he rehabilitates from an ankle injury.

If Knicks want Jalen Brunson, they will need to submit to his lofty contract demands

Jalen Brunson, knicks

With Derrick Rose still a minimum of six weeks away from making a return after undergoing ankle surgery, the Knicks are in desperate need of a true and tried point guard.

Kemba Walker is close to a return after aggravating his left knee, meaning reinforcements are on the way, but relying on two veteran players who have proven to be injury-prone might be a liability the rest of the season.

That is why the Knicks’ front office was connected to Dallas Mavericks PG Jalen Brunson last week, representing a potential trade deadline acquisition.

According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, the Knicks are interested in Bruson at the deadline:

The Mavericks still haven’t afforded former Villanova point guard Jalen Brunson a contract extension and he has made another leap this season. As The Post has reported multiple times, the Knicks have had Brunson on their radar.

The Knicks already contacted the Mavericks sometime in the past about Brunson, an NBA source said.

“They want him bad,’’ the NBA source said.

Brunson’s rookie contract expires after the current season, and he’s reportedly looking for a big extension at 26 years old. After earning just $6.1 million over four years, the Mavericks guard has a bigger number on his mind.

“Brunson faces a similar market, but the guard is believed by many to be seeking near a four-year, $80 million contract,” wrote Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report. “That is a large number, especially for a player that several competing executives think is too big of a target defensively in the playoffs.”

This season, Brunson is averaging 16 points, 5.6 assists, 34% shooting from deep, and 50% shooting from the field overall. His 45.5% effective field goal rate is solid, and experiencing year-over-year growth in the scoring department suggests he is on the up, which could be an enticing factor for the Knicks.

However, acquiring Brunson may not cost New York a ton of capital, especially with Dallas unlikely to sign him to the extension he is looking for. Considering Brunson is a local kid from New Jersey and his father Rick Brunson played for the Knicks, the obvious connections make him an exciting target. Rick also served as an assistant coach under Tom Thibodeau with the Bulls and Timberwolves, another valuable connection to consider.

If the Knicks are truly intrigued by his services, they would be smart to utilize him over the second half of the season before offering him a big extension. I don’t believe the acquisition of Cam Reddish interrupted those plans. Reddish is a small forward, and the Knicks severely lack facilitation at point guard, with Rose unavailable.

The former Villanova star has shown smooth shooting fundamentals this season paired with versatility and quickness, creating opportunities for others while finishing efficiently himself. Building upon those skills, the Knicks could extract a ton more value, but he’s far from the established star they need.

Knicks demolished by Hornets on Tom Thibodeau’s birthday

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Despite it being New York Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau’s birthday, his team failed to pick up a victory against the Charlotte Hornets on Monday afternoon. After enjoying a three-game win streak, building momentum at MSG, the Knicks lacked energy against Charlotte, especially from their starters, who all posted a negative +/-.

RJ Barrett and Julius Randle led the scoring efforts for the Knicks, posting 18 points apiece but showcasing lackluster defense in addition. However, Barrett contributed 12 rebounds and Randle 10 in the contest, trying to impose their physicality on Charlotte, who have a relatively small team. Thibodeau’s squad did out-rebound the Hornets 53 to 39.

Once again, new acquisition from the Atlanta Hawks Cam Reddish watched from the bench as he works his way back from an ankle injury.

Point guard Kemba Walker was also questionable for the contest but was ruled out closer to game time due to a left knee injury.

The Knicks are short point guards at the moment, with Immanuel Quickley and Alec Burks picking up the slack. Burks had an off day, posting six points and just one assist. Quickley recorded five assists off the bench but was quiet from three-point range, hitting just 25% of the shots.

Altogether, the starters were not up to scratch, as Evan Fournier posted just six points over 25 minutes. The team hosted a 32.3% three-point percentage and shot 38.7% from the field. Their 52.4% free-throw rate was also an indication of focus issues.

The Knicks have been wildly inefficient from the free-throw line this season, which is part of the reason they are intrigued by Reddish and his qualities as a 90% free-throw shooter the season.

Aside from their offensive deficiencies, the Knicks simply didn’t close out shots fast enough again, Charlotte. They allowed too much space and good shooting opportunities, resulting in a double-digit deficit for the majority of the game.

It is quite clear that New York lacks a point guard at this point in time, with Kemba and Derrick Rose both rehabilitating from injuries. Rose is still several weeks out from a return after undergoing ankle surgery at the beginning of the new year.

Settling back at .500 on the season, the Knicks will look ahead to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday evening to get back in the win column. They will enjoy three consecutive home games until departing on a three-game road trip against Cleveland, Miami, and Milwaukee.

Knicks News: Kemba Walker injury update, New York eyes 4th straight win

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The New York Knicks are preparing to take on the Charlotte Hornets on Monday afternoon at 1 PM, but they might be without Kemba Walker once again, whose last game was against Detroit on December 29. Walker has missed every game of the new year, representing six contests in which the Knicks have won five of them.

Thanks to the incredible turnaround of third-year guard RJ Barrett, Walker‘s loss has been relatively insignificant, relying on Immanuel Quickley, Alec Burks, and Miles McBride as the primary point guards. Recently, New York acquired Cam Reddish from the Atlanta Hawks, a young small forward with tremendous potential. However, it’s still possible they target a point guard at the deadline in hopes of adding more talent.

Recently, the Knicks were connected to Jalen Brunson of the Dallas Mavericks, and with a few weeks left to secure a deal, it is not out of the picture that the Knicks may continue to have serious talks. Usually, when there is smoke, there’s fire.

As for Kemba, he’s been dealing with a knee injury to his left leg, which was always going to be a concern this season. Bringing back Derrick Rose on a three-year deal was supposed to supplement any injury concerns, but given both are missing time simultaneously, the Knicks have had to rely on other players.

Per Marc Berman of the NY Post, Thibodeau played off Kemba Walker’s injury and focused on who’s available:

“You make your decisions based on the people you have available, but we’ll see when we get guys back,’’ Thibodeau said. “We’re always gonna do what’s best for the team, period. Whatever gives us the best chance to win, that’s what we have to do, so everyone has got to sacrifice. I want us to be at full strength. I think that gives us our best chance. So hopefully, we can get Kemba back soon and we’ll get Derrick [Rose] back and be ready to roll.’’

If Kemba is unable to start again, Charlotte, expect heavy doses of Quickley and Burks. Reddish is still coming back from an ankle issue, so don’t expect him to play for at least another few days. However, the Hornets or no pushover, sitting at 23–20 on the season but having an 11–14 record away, gives the Knicks a slight advantage. They have won four of their last five games but recently lost to one of the worst teams in basketball, the Orlando Magic.

If the Knicks want to secure victory, they need to stifle LaMelo Ball, who is averaging 19.4 points per game and 7.6 assists. Charlotte also features Miles Bridges, who is posting 19.6 points and 7.2 rebounds per game.

Limiting Bridges and Ball is easier said than done, but their best way to success is hyper-focusing on them defensively. Make their role players beat them.

Luckily for New York, they will have an advantage inside with their physicality and height but need to be wary of Charlotte‘s three-point shooting. They currently rank 3rd in the league at 37.3% from downtown. However, they are the 21st ranked rebounding team, so expect New York to present physicality and look for offensive rebounds as a catalyst for offensive production.

Knicks’ Cam Reddish sets the bar high, but he has a fight ahead of him for playing time

“I’m not expecting to come in playing 35, 40 minutes whenever the next game is, but I’ve just got to come in and work my tail off,” Reddish said. “The rest takes care of itself.’’

Cam Reddish cheered on his new team from the sideline as the New York Knicks were laying a beat down on the Atlanta Hawks Saturday night. Dealing with an ankle injury, Reddish is still rehabilitating and likely won’t be available for the next few games.

However, the former Duke star is confident his ankle is close to being ready, providing the Knicks with even more firepower off the bench.

“It’s actually feeling a lot better,” Reddish said. “I’m not sure how long I’ll definitely be out. But it’s definitely on the up and up. It’s in a good spot.”

This year, Reddish has experienced a massive increase in shooting efficiency, averaging 11.9 points per game and 38% from three-point range compared to 26% last year.

The 22-year-olds quest to become a star is still underway, but he is extremely confident that his play will speak for itself if he puts the work in.

“I feel like I can be a star,” Reddish said after the Knicks’ win over Atlanta on Saturday. “I feel like I could be a legit star. That’s what I’m working to be. It’s pretty simple.”

Reddish requested a trade from Atlanta earlier this season, with his role being diminished. Thankfully, the Hawks’ front office obliged and sent him to New York, where he seems reinvigorated and ready to make an impact during the second half of the season.

“I think I’m still on track,” Reddish said. “I’ll continue to put the work in. I think I’m still there for sure.”

Based on his statistical improvements, Reddish is clearly a capable scorer. Shooting 38% from deep is no mirage, and he’s also recording a career-best 40% from the field. His 90% free-throw rate is another standout stat, which is something that head coach Tom Thibodeau will look to exploit moving forward.

Thibodeau isn’t going to give Reddish legitimate minutes to start his tenure with the Knicks but instead, make him fight tooth and nail for every opportunity.

“I’m not expecting to come in playing 35, 40 minutes whenever the next game is, but I’ve just got to come in and work my tail off,” Reddish said. “The rest takes care of itself.’’

Prior to Cam’s arrival, the Knicks didn’t have a legitimate small forward on the roster, but now they have a versatile option that can pair with a number of player combinations. Small forwards are flexible and versatile players, hosting a smaller frame than a power forward but imparting physicality nonetheless inside.

With New York already having multiple wingers and shooting guards at their disposal, Reddish should allow them to test different combinations, especially with injuries plaguing the team this year.