Knicks: RJ Barrett stock up, Julius Randle stock down to start new year

rj barrett, julius randle, new york knicks

The New York Knicks have won three consecutive games and five of their last six to start 2022. However, you can thank third-year guard RJ Barrett for the team’s complete turnaround to open the new year, as Julius Randle has struggled in recent days, despite a solid outing against the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday night.

Barrett has been playing at another level, stringing together nine consecutive games with double-digit points and three successive with 26 points or more. In his last six games, Barrett has posted 30+ points in three of them, averaging 24.6 points per game in the month of January.

RJ is also contributing 3.3 assists, 5.1 rebounds, and shooting 48.7% from three-point range over 37 minutes. In fact, Barrett has played 41 minutes apiece over his last two games, as Tom Thibodeau has made him the team’s number one scoring option.

It is clear that Barrett is ready to take a step forward, given he can remain consistent for the remainder of the season. New York needed the Canadian-born player to take this stratospheric leap to above-average play.

However, his teammate, Julius Randle, has experienced the exact opposite to start the new year, averaging 18 points and shooting just 22.9% from three-point range and 41.3% from the field. While he is producing 11 rebounds per game and 5.3 assists, his scoring has been erratic, resulting in a transfer of responsibility to RJ.

Marc Berman of the New York Post reported the Knicks “might not be as sold” on Randle after giving him a four-year, $117 million extension this past off-season. His outburst toward the fans and media did not sit well as the team made him apologize via social media.

While Randle is going through struggles at the moment, he is still an incredibly productive player. When Randle missed two games due to the NBA‘s health and safety protocols a few weeks ago, the Knicks were blown out in both by 15 points, with Obi Toppin picking up his starting minutes. Randle does a lot for the team that goes unnoticed, commanding attention and providing his teammates with better opportunities at the basket.

After his outburst, it is clear his confidence has taken a hit, but the best thing the fans can do is simply stand behind him and reinvigorate his play.

Against Atlanta, both Barrett and head coach Tom Thibodeau gave Julius a ton of credit, indicating that the Knicks’ chance of winning skyrockets when both he and RJ play at a high level.

“It’s great to see him have a monster game like that,’’ Barrett said of Randle, per Marc Berman of the NY Post. “When we both play well, we have a great chance to win.’’

“It’s great to see him have a monster game like that,’’ Barrett said of Randle. “When we both play well, we have a great chance to win.’’

The new addition of Cam Reddish also hopefully provides a bit of assistance and cushion off the bench.

Brotherhood: Cam Reddish calls RJ Barrett after Knicks-Hawks trade

Moments after the Cam Reddish trade to the New York Knicks circulated online on Thursday morning, Duke Men’s Basketball official Twitter account posted a GIF of RJ Barrett whipping a between-the-leg pass to a trailing Reddish for a three-pointer.


Reddish got his wish.

It’s like 2018 all over again. The two-thirds of the former Duke’s Big 3 are reunited in New York.

Barrett quickly liked the tweet. The Knicks’ rising swingman is hyped to play with Reddish again.

“It’s great to play with my Duke brother again. It’s gonna be a lot of fun. I’m happy. I can’t wait,” Barrett told reporters Friday. “We had a good talk yesterday. When he gets here, I hope I could help him gel with the team. I gave him a little bit of a rundown. 

After inconsistent three-and-a-half seasons with the Atlanta Hawks, Reddish is moving on, seeking a more defined role in a place where he can showcase the tantalizing talent that made him one of the top prospects out of high school and a top-10 lottery selection out of college. But it’s unclear if that place is New York.

Over his first 118 NBA games, Reddish averaged 11.1 points on a sub-par 38.5 percent shooting from the floor, including just 32.9 percent from the three-point range in 26.3 minutes. He’s hiked his outside shooting to 37.9 percent this season on 4.5 attempts — a much-needed swing skill for the 6-foot-8, 217-pound forward.

Though New York coach Tom Thibodeau said they’re loaded in the wing rotation right now, Barrett is confident Reddish can crack it.

“I don’t think we would have gotten him if that wasn’t the case. So, I think he’ll do well here and have a chance to be a great piece to this team. We’re excited to have him,” Barrett said.

Then he rattled one by one the full scouting report on Reddish: “He’s 6-foot-8, very skilled [player]. He shoots the ball, finishes with both hands, and plays great defense. Again, we’re getting a good, talented player.”

Reddish hasn’t put together those skillsets in Atlanta due to a spate of injuries. Eventually, he got buried behind the likes of fellow young talents De’Andre Hunter, Kevin Huerter, and the arrival of veterans Bogdan Bogdan Bognadovic and Danilo Gallinari last season further clouded his future with the Hawks. So he asked the front office to move him elsewhere rather than get stuck on the bench.

The caveat is he’s moving to a similar situation in New York. Reddish has to fight again for his playing time in a Knicks’ stacked wing rotation filled with veterans. But Reddish’s physical tools trump all the current Knicks’ wings at the moment.

During the 2019 NBA Draft, Knicks general manager Scott Perry reportedly stood pat in selecting Barrett and shunning offers to move down for a chance to grab someone like Reddish. Now they got them both.

Barrett revealed the Knicks front office sought him for his thoughts about his former teammate before the trade went down.

“They asked me a couple of questions,” Barrett said.

At Duke, Reddish played a smaller role behind consensus NBA top overall pick Zion Williamson and Barrett, who love attacking the rim. Reddish was the lone Blue Devil who averaged more than two three-pointers per game (2.5 3s to be exact). But his shooting splits (36/33/77) left much to be desired.

Williamson and Barrett flourished, with both Duke stars averaging 22.6 points per game. Despite Reddish’s physical gifts, he could only grab 3.7 rebounds per game, along with his 13.5-point scoring average. But he played tough defense. His 1.6 steals per game is one solid proof.

“It was fun. It was easy out there playing with him,” Barrett recalled their days at Duke. “I hope that translates to the NBA too.”

Barrett kept tabs on his former teammates despite going separate ways after a one-and-done season at Duke that didn’t end in an NCAA championship when Williamson got injured.

“We stayed in touch all the time. I keep tabs on my (college) teammates to see how they’re doing. I think just before he got hurt, he had a really good stretch,” said Barrett referring to Reddish’s strong December. 

Reddish scored in double figures in seven of the Hawks’ 10 games last month. He had a pair of 30-point games against Orlando and Chicago and averaged 14.7 points on a 40/39/91 shooting splits.

Barrett added that the Duke’s coaching staff also tracked their development. He said he regularly talks to Duke’s associate head Jon Scheyer once or twice a week. He’s also kept in touch with Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski and assistant Nolan Smith.

When asked if he heard from his former Duke teammates about their reunion in New York, Barrett kept it close to his chest.

“We’ll keep that in house,” said Barrett with a sheepish smile.

The trade and Barrett’s answer could only fuel more speculation about Williamson’s already murky future in New Orleans.

After this season, all three former Duke players are extension-eligible and could hit free agency in 2023.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Knicks reunite Cam Reddish with rising star RJ Barrett

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The New York Knicks have traded seldom-used Kevin Knox and a 2022 protected first-round pick (via Charlotte) to Atlanta Hawks for Cam Reddish, Solomon Hill, and a 2025 second round-pick (via Brooklyn), according to multiple reports.

ESPN first reported the deal that would reunite Reddish with his former Duke teammate and Knicks’ rising star RJ Barrett.

In December, Reddish, the 10th overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, has shown flashes of his potential with a pair of 30-plus point games. For the season, the 6-foot-8 Reddish is averaging a career-best 11.9 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.1 assists in a career-low 23 minutes while shooting 38 percent from three-point range.

Knox, the ninth overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, had been buried on the bench since Tom Thibodeau took over in New York. He hopes the change of scenery will help him get his NBA career on track. Knox averaged 8.2 points and 3.1 rebounds in a three-and-a-half season with the Knicks.

Ian Begley of SNY also reported that the Hawks initially sought rookie Quentin Grimes, but some Knicks decision-makers opposed dealing the 25th pick of this year’s draft. Grimes has earned his way into the rotation with his defense and reliable three-point shooting.

The Knicks’ pick to Atlanta is heavily protected (1-18 in 2022, 1-6 in 2023, 1-14 in 2024, and 1-14 in 2025; two second-round picks after 2025). The Knicks originally acquired the pick when they traded their no. 19 selection in the previous draft, which Charlotte used for Kai Jones.

The Knicks will have to release 10-day signee Ryan Arcidiacono to accommodate Hill for their 15th roster spot.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Knicks’ RJ Barrett smashes franchise record with dominant play Vs Dallas

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The New York Knicks impressively dismantled the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday evening by a score of 108–85.

Third-year guard RJ Barrett has had his fair share of inconsistencies this season, experiencing ebbs and flows with his offensive production.

Earlier in the year, Barrett claimed he had his eyes set on making the All-NBA team for his premium defense, but it’s been his offense that has led the Knicks to four wins in their last five games, including a 32-point performance against Dallas on Wednesday.

Looking back at the beginning of the year, Barrett started the season sluggishly, recording over 12 points just once in the first four games of the year. He proceeded to go on an exciting streak, scoring a low of 20 points over the next five games with a high of 35 against New Orleans on October 30.

However, Barrett would end up dealing with a myriad of issues, ranging from a positive Covid test to a lack of confidence. In the month of January to start the new year, Barrett is averaging 22.8 points per game, shooting 48.1% from three-point range and contributing 4.8 rebounds. In other words, he’s back!

The Duke product has led the way for New York as Julius Randle has come under fire due to offensive struggles this season. RJ saw this as an opportunity to become the Knicks’ top offensive option, and he has done just that over the last five games, recording 30+ points in three of them.

In fact, against Dallas, Barrett set a franchise record as the youngest player to record consecutive games with at least 30 points. Kristaps Porzingis was the last Knick to achieve the feat, but Barrett pushed past at just 21 years old.

Defensively on Wednesday, Barrett held opposing shooters to 3 of 11 from the field and Dallas star guard Luka Doncic to just 2 of 8.

In classic fashion after the game, Thibodeau restrained himself from excitement, indicating that his team can’t let the win overwhelm them. Nevertheless, he was ecstatic about RJ’s performance, referencing his preparation as a catalyst for his recent success.

“He’s putting a lot of extra work in right now. He’s coming back at night and I think that’s a big factor.”
The Knicks have needed a leader who can produce and come in the clutch, which is exactly what Barrett’s done, best referenced by his buzzer-beater against Boston last week.
“I think we’re gonna find success if we continue to do the little things.”
Thibodeau desperately needed his young shooting guard to rise to the occasion after an erratic start to the season. RJ was always meant to be the second option behind Julius Randle, but he’s quickly overtaking him in recent days. I would be remiss not to give Randle credit for the attention he draws, allowing Barrett to dominate with his aggressive style of play, attacking the basket.

Knicks crush Mavericks on the back of RJ Barrett masterclass

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Coming off a 15-point win over the San Antonio Spurs, the New York Knicks took on the Dallas Mavericks at MSG on Wednesday evening. Dallas had won six consecutive games before taking on New York, who completely demolished them, holding them to a measly 85 points.

The Knicks have struggled at home this season but have pulled their record to .500 for the first time in several weeks, hopefully restarting and rejuvenating the team with the trade deadline coming up. Tom Thibodeau’s squad has been linked to a number of players, including Myles Turner, Cam Reddish, and Jerami Grant out of Detroit.

However, the Knicks got the job done against the Mavericks, scoring 108 points and shooting a phenomenal 44.4% from three-point range and 46.7% from the field. They held Dallas to just 21.6% from deep, holding Luka Doncic to 21 points and just five assists. In fact, three of Dallas’s starters didn’t crack single digits, with all of them posting a negative plus/minus.

Third-year guard RJ Barrett led the way for New York, scoring 32 points, shooting 13 of 22 from the field and 4 of 7 from three-point range. He also contributed seven rebounds and two assists in the win. Julius Randle recorded a double–double, nearly securing a triple–double with eight assists, 17 points, and 12 rebounds.

However, Barrett was the star of the evening, producing his second consecutive 30+ point performance and third 30+ point performance in five games. It is clear that Barrett is finally playing at full strength, shooting 48% from three-point range in the month of January and averaging 22.8 points per game.

It seems as if New York has taken a step in the right direction the past few games, winning four of their last five contests and a match against the Atlanta Hawks coming up on Saturday night. Atlanta has lost four of the last five games, presenting the Knicks with a competitive advantage.

Considering how great Barrett has been playing as of late, Thibodeau would be smart to continue feeding him the ball and playing off his confidence.

RJ Barrett’s star turn boosts Knicks’ playoff chances

After the New York Knicks lost to the lowly Oklahoma City Thunder on New Year’s eve, RJ Barrett sheepishly warned, “don’t sleep on us.”

Since then, the Knicks have gone 3-2 to match their 20-21 record after 41 games last season. Barrett had his fingerprint all over those three wins — a 32-point game against the Indiana Pacers, his first game-winning buzzer-beater against the Boston Celtics, and Monday night’s 31-point gem against the San Antonio Spurs.

After Ja Morant’s ascent as an inevitable All-Star point guard, this season capped by a back-to-back NBA Player of the Week runs, Barrett’s star turn has arrived.

Over his last seven games, Barrett has scored in double figures, averaging 22.1 points on 46/39/67 shooting splits with 5.4 rebounds and 3.1 assists.

Before that, he averaged 14.6 points on 39/34/70 shooting splits with 5.4 rebounds and 2.4 assists in his first 27 games.

The game is starting to slow down for Barrett. It’s becoming simple as his rim reads have shown in his methodical performance against the San Antonio Spurs.

When he saw the Spurs loading up on Randle, Barrett took over.

He wasn’t only standing in the corner waiting for the pass for a catch-and-shoot three-pointer as he did for much of the early part of the season.

He mixed and matched, as noted by Evan Fournier that had the Spurs’ defense scrambling, not knowing what hit them.

A breakaway windmill dunk in the second quarter kept his confidence rising.

His eight straight points to close out the second quarter became the game’s turning point that shifted the momentum to the Knicks’ side after they trailed by as many as eight points.

Barrett pressured the rim, and when the Spurs’ defense collapsed on him, he gave up the ball, leading to easy offense.

Barrett’s playmaking has been underrated, but he grew up in Canada as a point guard before turning into an athletic, bruising swingman in Duke.

He had four assists, the second-most among the Knicks against the Spurs behind Immanuel Quickley and rookie Quentin Grimes’ six dimes each.

Barrett delivered on both ends, including a jaw-dropping monster block on Spurs’ big man Drew Eubanks.

It was the kind of complete game that Knicks GM Scott Perry expected when he shunned trade-down proposals and stood pat during the 2019 NBA Draft night.

Barrett, the third overall pick in a draft class viewed as a two-way superstar race between his Duke teammate Zion Williamson and Morant, was left behind in his rookie year. He wasn’t even picked in the All-Rookie Team.

But the Knicks patiently waited for Barrett to turn the corner. At 21, he would have been a college senior by now, but Barrett is starting to show maturity in his game with two-and-a-half seasons under his belt.

His 31-point gem against the Spurs was the fourth time he’s scored at least 31 this season and third in the last two months. He joined Luka Doncic, Kevin Durant, and Knicks legend Bernard King as the only NBA players at age 21 or younger to have multiple 30-point games against the Spurs, per ESPN Stats and Info.

Last month, he had 32 points in a 121-109 win over the Spurs in San Antonio.

During training camp, Barrett harped on his aim to become one of the league’s top defensive wings after the Knicks front office brought in Fournier and Kemba Walker to spruce up the Knicks offense that bogged down in last season’s playoffs. He hinted that his scoring would take a backseat with the arrival of more firepower in the starting unit. 

But after enduring another early-season shooting slump plus a stomach virus and COVID-19 that sidelined him for seven games, Barrett has rebounded well.

Last season, the Knicks went to a surprising playoff run after manufacturing their own star in Julius Randle, who blossomed into an All-NBA player. But as Randle’s numbers continue to dip this season, Barrett is starting to pick up the slack.

The Knicks’ playoff chances are predicated on Randle and Barrett to keep improving this season. At least half of the equation is beginning to find its solution.

Don’t sleep on the Knicks, especially when Barrett continues to flash his star potential.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Knicks overpower Spurs thanks to RJ Barrett’s dominance

knicks, rj barrett

Coming off an embarrassing performance against the Boston Celtics, the New York Knicks returned to the win column against the San Antonio Spurs on Monday evening.

Scoring just 75 points against Boston, the Knicks had something to prove, showcasing a 111 point performance in the win, holding San Antonio to just 96. The starting team was dominant for New York, aside from Julius Randle, who finished the game with just two points but did contribute 12 rebounds.

Ever since Randle’s outburst after the team’s buzzer-beater win against Boston last Thursday, he has struggled offensively, recording 13 and then two on Monday evening. While his rebounding is as good as ever, Randle has given RJ Barrett the reigns, who converted 12 of 20 shots from the field, including 3 of 4 from deep and 31 total points.

Barrett has been on fire as of late, recording 30 points or more in two of his last four contests and finishing with double-digit points in seven consecutive games. In the month of January, RJ is averaging 20.8 points, 3.5 assists, 5.3 rebounds, and is shooting 43.5% from three-point range and 41.4% from the field. His extravagant shooting end confidence following his buzzer-beater shot against Boston was on full display as he utilized a myriad of moves against the Spurs.

Ranging from driving to the basket with his left hand, he also used his right hand around the rim, a smooth floater game, and shooting from deep, connecting on 75% of the 3-PT shots.

As a team, the Knicks shot 40.6% from range and 48.8% from the field, posting 40 defensive rebounds compared to San Antonio’s 30. They also recorded 23 assists compared to 19.

Altogether, it was an efficient performance from the starters, with Immanuel Quickley providing 12 off the bench and Quintin Grimes contributing seven. Barrett had the most electrifying moment of the game with a windmill dunk on a fast break, and you could feel his energy reverberating throughout MSG.

Knicks News: Fournier shows his value, Barrett earns much-needed confidence boost

knicks, rj barrett

The New York Knicks are coming off a 25 point come-back win against the Boston Celtics on Thursday evening, stringing together two consecutive games after the return of Julius Randle.

Randle will plaster the headlines with his crude remarks after the game, displaying hostility after fans unleashed criticism over the past few weeks as a result of inconsistent performances. However, Randle finished the game with 22 points, eight rebounds, two assists, and two steals. This is his second consecutive game with 20+ points, earning 30 and 16 rebounds against the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night.

While the star power forward contributed heavily in the win, it was sharpshooter Evan Fournier who stepped up to the plate and delivered arguably his best performance of the season.

Fournier contributed 41 points and eight rebounds and shot 10 of 14 from the three-point range. He’s been widely unpredictable this season, but his resilience led him to a dominant outing against his former club.

“When you go through a season like that where there’s a lot of inconsistency…you start the day with a fresh attitude,” Fournier said. 
Mental strength is an essential part of being a player in the NBA, shaking off poor performances like Fournier’s evening against Indiana where he scored zero points over 22 minutes, and coming back fresh the next day.
Most would agree that the French native isn’t living up to his four-year, $73 million contract he signed this past off-season, averaging just 13.5 points per game and shooting 38.1% from three-point range. While his conversion rate from deep is slowly climbing, especially after shooting 40% over his last 10 games, they need more consistency from him moving forward, as the offense lacks efficiency when he’s not at the top of his game.
Aside from his incredible game, it was third-year guard RJ Barrett that stepped up and delivered the most crucial basket of the evening, a buzzer-beater with 1.5 seconds left on the clock.

When Barrett was asked if he thought the ball would go in when he heaved up a shot with 1.5 seconds left, he said with confidence: “Of course.”

RJ is another player that has experienced ebbs and flows of production the season, averaging 15.6 points per game over 31.3 minutes. Last season, Barrett set the stage for a hopeful lucrative third season, averaging 17.6 points and shooting 40% of three point range over 34.9 minutes.
RJ has seen a steep drop off in three-point efficiency — 7%. His field-goal percentage has dropped 4%, and his assist numbers are down nearly one pregame. While these regressions could result from strategy change and flow given the new additions on the team, Barrett showcased why the Knicks are so high on his capabilities.
RJ is one of those players that feed off confidence, and hitting this game-winner against Boston should give him a significant boost heading into a second game against the Celtics on Saturday night at the TD Garden.

Knicks’ Batman and Robin can propel them to the postseason

rj barrett, julius randle, new york knicks

Prior to the New York Knicks’ victory over the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night, they had been experiencing somewhat of a funk. With players coming in and out of the NBA’s health and safety protocols, establishing consistency became a complex problem.

Losing power forward Julius Randle for two games provided the Knicks with a wake-up call, and likely their fans as well, who’ve been calling for Randle’s head prior to his absence.

During that two-game stretch, the Knicks were outmatched entirely, losing both games by 15 points and showcasing a little resilience with Obi Toppin taking over Randle’s minutes. Toppin performed well against Toronto, tying a career-high 19 points, but he’s a far lesser player than Randle, who showcased his brilliance against the Pacers to stifle a two-game losing streak.

After the game, head coach Tom Thibodeau raved about Julius’s return, posting 30 points and 16 rebounds over 39 minutes. Storming back from a positive Covid test in just a few days was remarkable.

“For Julius to do what he did today is just remarkable. To come out of health and safety protocols, travel and play. We had no idea what he was gonna be like. Unbelievable effort.” – Via Fred Katz of The Athletic

Randle’s vengeful return was like the end of a storybook when the hero arrives at the final moments to save the day and overwhelm the opponent with heart and energy.

However, Randle couldn’t overwhelm Indiana alone, as the Robin to his Batman stepped up to the plate and performed at a high level. RJ Barrett, who has been struggling this season, recorded 32 points on 40% shooting from three-point range, adding eight rebounds and three assists to his mark.

“I definitely feel like I’m capable…hopefully once we get back and rolling, this is what to expect from us,” Barrett said after the game.

The Knicks ended up winning by double digits against the Pacers, displaying consistency and energy throughout. Barrett scored 17 points in the first quarter alone, finishing with a game-high in points.

New York desperately needs Barrett and Randle to become their lethal pairing. They can boost this team and push them to the postseason, as their teammates will revere their work ethic and production.

It all boils down to consistency, though, and if they can stay healthy, the sky is the limit. RJ was expected to take a big year three jump after a successful sophomore campaign during Randle’s All-Star performance.

RJ is shooting just 32.9% from three-point range this season, despite hitting over 40% last year. He’s enjoyed multiple games this season with 30 points or more, but if he can do that on a more consistent basis, his stock will elevate tremendously. It is no surprise to see Randle and Barrett dominating when both are hot with the ball in their hands.

Knicks: 2 players who need to elevate their game in 2022

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The New York Knicks are one of the more volatile teams in the NBA. They’re capable of winning any game, but they’ve lost several disappointing contests this season, representing a combustive team with wild inconsistencies.

Several factors have played into the Knicks’ demise at times, ranging from a lack of effort, inconsistent shooting, and porous defense. However, there are two specific players who need to elevate their game during the second half of the season if a playoff spot is still the primary goal.

Two players who need to elevate their game for the Knicks:

1.) RJ Barrett

The Knicks invested a ton of stock into the development and growth of RJ Barrett this past off-season. Barrett was expected to take a significant jump, pairing with Julius Randle and providing the team with a necessary one-two punch. At 21 years old, Barrett still has plenty of time to continue progressing, but his stats have taken a step back this year.

Barrett averages just 32.5% from the three-point range after hitting 40.1% during the 2020–21 season. He’s averaging about five minutes less per game on the floor and 2.6 fewer points. His field goal percentage has dropped 4% and assists from 3.0 to 2.2%.

Almost every statistical season has seen regression, and that might be partially the result of Julius Randle crashing back down to earth after an incredible season, resulting in the signing of a four-year, $117 million extension with New York.

Barrett’s defensive numbers have also taken a sizable dip. He hosts a 110.5 defensive rating compared to 107.2 last year. His -6.4 net rating and 11.6% assist rate display a player who is lost in translation off the ball and isn’t seeing the court at a heightened level.

Barrett is still a solid player who can contribute in a myriad of ways, but most are expecting him to take the leap to above average, which would’ve given the Knicks plenty of firepower to work with.

I believe Randle’s impact on the game has tremendously dampened Barrett’s contributions. Julius demanded so much attention last season it opened up the floor for Barrett to hit corner shots and drive with his left hand. However, Randle isn’t performing at the same level, and it has impacted everybody else on the team. An argument can be made that RJ simply lacks confidence at times, hurting his shooting efficiency.

2.) Evan Fournier

Evan Fournier is another player, the Knicks desperately need to make a run at a playoff spot. After signing a four-year, $73 million contract in free agency, Fournier was expected to offer an elite sharpshooter in the starting five.

Unfortunately, the French native has also experienced regression this season, hitting just 36.6% of his three-point attempts after connecting on 41.3% last year with Boston and Orlando combined. His field goal percentage has dropped 5%, and his defensive qualities remain a liability. He currently hosts a 111.2 defensive rating, resulting in a -5.8 net rating. His assist percentage has dropped 7% from last year to just 10%.

With a player who is experiencing a lull in shooting effectiveness and isn’t spreading the ball around as a playmaker, the Knicks are likely scratching their head at the Analytics department.

Interestingly, Fournier isn’t getting to the free-throw line as much as season, maybe as a result of rule changes that have prevented referees from handing out shooting fouls like candy.

Fournier is a more than capable scorer who explodes on occasion for big numbers, but his defense remains awful night in and night out. Unless he can be a consistent scorer averaging 20+ points per game, the Knicks will always have a way to work around his defensive vulnerabilities.