Jeff Van Gundy Reveals ‘No. 1 Factor’ in Knicks Making Playoffs

jeff van gundy

Getty Jeff Van Gundy outlines what he thinks is the key to a successful Knicks season.

The New York Knicks missed the playoffs last season, but they are hoping that’s going to be a one-time occurrence after signing Jalen Brunson to a contract.

After running through a revolving door at point guard for years now, the Knicks now have their answer in Brunson, and the hope is he’ll be able to lead them back into the playoffs. With an All-Star nod dangling in his face, Brunson has a lot to prove this season, and a leap like that could possibly be enough for New York to get some postseason games.

Former Knicks head coach Jeff Van Gundy, speaking to the New York Post, revealed what he considers to be the most important part of the team finding success again, and that’s Julius Randle.

Randle Needs to Bounce Back

Two seasons ago the Knicks were in the playoffs, but last season was a tough one as they finished 37-45 and missed even the play-in tournament.

Van Gundy tells the Post that he needs to see Randle return to form for the Knicks to sniff the playoffs again.

“Randle bounce-back is the No. 1 factor and it’s how he addresses last season,” he said. “Has he looked inward or he still going to be funky?”

Although his efficiency took a hit last season, he still put up 20/10/5, which are definitely strong numbers. The issue was that it didn’t lead to wins. He might find better opportunities this season with Brunson in town running the show. Randle was a player who ran much of the offense last season, and that could’ve been one of the main problems plaguing last year’s squad.

Finding a true point guard will ease that burden and allow Randle to operate without all of the attention on him. The Knicks will probably still put the ball in his hand, but it shouldn’t be as often now that Brunson is in town.

Van Gundy Lays Out What Needs to Happen

The Knicks need to finish in at least the 10th seed in order to compete in the play-in tournament, and for that to happen they’ll need Randle to return to form, but they’ll also need others to make a leap, and that might come from outside of the organization currently.

”The one thing everyone can agree on, if the Knicks are to make a jump in the standings, they have to have a guy — or two guys — to build around,” he said. “They still don’t have that building block, from a star player’s standpoint.”

This would’ve been solved by trading for Donovan Mitchell, but that never came into fruition and the team now has to figure out where to go from here. Brunson, Randle and RJ Barrett are being paid like stars, but Van Gundy doesn’t consider any of them to be “the guy.”

“I’m not being negative about those guys,” he continued. “Randle made an All-Star team, Barrett they hope continues to become a more efficient player. Jalen is in that category of fringe All-Star.”

Randle finding his All-NBA form again would be a good start, but that’s far from a guarantee at this point.

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