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HomeSPORTSKnicks might have a Julius Randle management problem

Knicks might have a Julius Randle management problem

Julius Randle’s potential game-winning, straightaway 3-pointer within the dying seconds that rattled out and in Friday night time was a microcosm of his season.

It’s been up and down, out and in and — finally — unsuccessful.

The Knicks are 12-14 getting into Sunday’s midday matinee in opposition to the defending-champion Bucks that may precede their Garden showdown Tuesday in opposition to the resurrected Warriors.

By Tuesday night time, the Knicks, beloved by town throughout final season’s pandemic, would possibly crash to 12-16.

And the obvious particular person responsible — aside from workforce president Leon Rose for a curious offseason — is Randle for not taking part in as much as the second-team All-NBA stage final season after signing a $117 million contract extension.

Before what turned a 1-2 highway journey, Randle mentioned the whole workforce, and particularly himself, needed to “look within the mirror.’’

When requested after Saturday’s follow if he’s getting nervous concerning the predicament that has the Knicks in an Eleventh-place tie and out of Eastern Conference playoff place, Randle shrugged it off.

Julius Randle

“What would I’ve to be nervous about?’’ Randle mentioned.

Are you optimistic?

“I’m not optimistic,’’ Randle mentioned. “I consider in my workforce. I consider in my workforce for positive.’’

One supply believes locker-room management has began to turn into a difficulty. Randle just isn’t a born chief, self-admittedly the quiet kind, as is Derrick Rose.

Other management candidates can be hard-pressed to be the workforce’s motivational speaker: Kemba Walker, banished from the rotation; Evan Fournier, the struggling French newcomer not often known as an orator; Taj Gibson at present out of the taking part in combine.

It’s as much as Randle to carry this group out of the doldrums and one supply mentioned the ahead can sometimes be a loner within the locker room. Randle, for sure, is moody with the media.

Julius Randle loses the ball while going to the basket during the Knicks' loss to the Raptors.
Julius Randle loses the ball whereas going to the basket throughout the Knicks’ loss to the Raptors.
Getty Images

“I feel we’re all attempting to get it rotated,’’ Randle mentioned when requested concerning the management. “We’re working at it and attempting to get a greater focus of what we’re attempting to do.’’

Last season, Reggie Bullock was an influential voice as was zealous locker-room cheerleader Theo Pinson.

“When you take a look at the workforce, there actually isn’t an outspoken chief,’’ one NBA supply mentioned. “You take a look at each workforce within the NBA, they’ve an outspoken chief. Is there an outspoken chief or is everybody being too respectful to one another and never eager to voice their opinion?’’

Tom Thibodeau isn’t shy about voicing his opinion on something however generally a profitable group wants greater than the pinnacle coach within the gamers’ ears. Thibodeau really prefers management by instance greater than speeches from his core gamers.

“We desire a workforce of leaders,’’ Thibodeau mentioned after Saturday’s follow. “We need everybody doing the fitting issues. That’s the most effective management you’ll be able to have. Your actions displays your priorities. You can see what’s necessary to everybody. How you follow, put together. How you navigate by means of adversity when issues aren’t going properly. It’s all a part of it, constructing habits, dedication, will, perseverance. All the issues we have to work by means of issues.’’

Had Randle’s shot gone in, the Knicks can be feeling rather a lot higher about the place they’re at. The play was arrange properly by RJ Barrett’s kick-out go.

Randle is taking pictures simply 33 p.c from 3-point land after knocking them down at a 41.1 p.c fee in 2020-21. Randle’s total taking pictures share of 43 p.c is his lowest since his second season.

“I really like the play RJ made on the finish of the sport,’’ Thibodeau mentioned. “It was nice learn. Julius obtained to a terrific spot. The ball’s out and in. It was a hard-fought sport. There have been some constructive issues to construct off and [we] know we’ll should play rather a lot higher [Sunday].’’

After 26 video games final season, the Knicks have been simply 11-15 and had simply traded for Derrick Rose, sparking a turnaround and 41-31 closing report.

The Dec. 15 commerce marker is Wednesday when free brokers and draft picks are eligible to be traded, together with Walker, Fournier, Quentin Grimes, Miles McBride and Jericho Sims.

Team president Rose has been extraordinarily affected person however his offseason has backfired. Thibodeau received’t play Walker and Fournier has been inconsistent with the coach typically refusing to play him within the fourth quarter.

During the three-game journey to San Antonio, Indiana and Toronto, Fournier scored seven, seven and 9 factors. Fournier blamed his outings on consuming a nasty steak in San Antonio. One supply mentioned Barrett’s current illness additionally was resulting from meals poisoning.

Randle mentioned current journey was not all dangerous.

“We had moments,’’ Randle mentioned. “In specific I appreciated concerning the final sport we gave up 30 within the first quarter and just about performed lock-down protection the remainder of the sport.’’

Obi Toppin, who had a career-high in factors (19) and rebounds (10) in Toronto, believes the Knicks’ malaise will flip.

“No one’s ever going to be good,’’ Toppin mentioned. “We obtained to play and work as arduous as we are able to to be near good. Right now now we have lots of work to do. We’re not near the workforce we will be. We’re going to search out that groove. Everyone’s going to lock in.’’

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