Ex-Knicks PG Not a Fan of Julius Randle, Roots for Obi Toppin

Julius Randle, Knicks

Getty Julius Randle #30 of the New York Knicks dribbles as Payton Pritchard #11 and Dalano Banton #45 of the Boston Celtics defend.

Julius Randle‘s isolation-heavy style of play has dominated the New York Knicks over the past three seasons, which helped them reach the NBA playoffs twice. It even earned him two All-Star nods and two All-NBA Team selections.

But former Knicks point guard Charlie Ward is not a fan of it.

“Julius Randle, I do believe has a place, I’m just not a big fan,” Ward said on the “The Knicks Recap” postgame show following the Knicks’ uninspiring 114-107 preseason-opening win over a skeleton Boston Celtics team Monday night.

The Knicks stood pat this summer, believing continuity is the best move forward following their best season in a decade. That continuity was displayed Monday night against a division rival that rested its top six players on the second night of a back-to-back schedule.

Playing in his first game since his ankle surgery in June, Randle scored 11 points on 3-of-4 shooting and had four rebounds in only 12 minutes.

“I know he scores the ball really, really well,” Ward continued. “I’m just not a big fan of the [isolation] type of game, which is hard for me to watch. It’s hard for me to coach it. It’s hard for me to watch it. I just like movement, move the ball, move bodies, and then make quick decisions.”

Charlie Ward a Big Fan of Obi Toppin

The Knicks have put a lot of faith in Randle, who switched from CAA to WME Sports in the offseason after trading away his backup, Obi Toppin, a former lottery pick. If he had a say, Ward would have wanted Toppin to stay.

“When the Knicks were playing at their best, they were playing with movement,” Ward said. “They’re getting the shots they wanted. They’re getting the matchups they wanted. I’m just a big Obi Toppin fan because of the way he plays the game. To me, he would have a place in the rotation consistently to where we could use his skills.”

Unfortunately for Toppin, he was buried behind Randle’s shadows. The No. 8 pick of the 2020 NBA draft was only limited to 15 minutes per game, which was not enough to develop his potential.

“[Toppin] shot well, but I thought he got to a point where he was just shooting the 3 too much because he wasn’t getting opportunities on the floor, I do believe,” Ward said. “And he became a 3-point shooter as opposed to what we’re probably seeing more of him in, now that he’s in Indiana.”

Toppin had seven points and five rebounds in 16 minutes during his preseason debut with the Pacers on October 8.

Julius Randle’s Knicks Future in Doubt

Randle’s decision to switch agencies this past summer led to speculation about his future in New York.

Yahoo Sports NBA insider Jake Fischer revealed he’s heard it is a developing situation to monitor.

“I am starting to wonder what Julius Randle’s future is with this [Knicks] program, particularly after changing representation from [Creative Artists Agency] to WME,” Fischer said on the “The Streets Are Buzzing” podcast. “That’s something that some people around the league have suggested to me is a potential trade situation to look out for.”

Randle is entering the second season of a $117 million, four-year extension he signed after his first All-NBA season in 2021.




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