The 2022 NBA preseason for the New York Knicks was interesting to watch, especially when analyzing power forward Julius Randle.
After coming off a rough year last season due to many factors, including his poor shooting efficiency, the spotlight was on Randle during the four preseason games that were played.
Randle had a solid outing in the preseason, as he played off the ball more and let the offense come to him. This can be contributed to the new acquisition of point guard Jalen Brunson being in control of the offense and RJ Barrett taking another leap in his progression.
The 27-year-old finished the preseason averaging 13.3 points, 6. 8 rebounds, and 4.8 assists, while shooting close to 43 percent from the field and 27 percent from 3-point range.
Randle finished third on the team in points scored during the preseason and is coming into a new season looking to simplify the offense and play how Coach Tom Thibodeau wants to play, which is more uptempo and making reads.
When speaking to the media on October 16 during a post-practice press conference, Randle mentioned that watching European basketball has given him a new perspective about ball movement and playing style.
“I see the NBA taking concepts from them on how the game is being played,” Randle said. “One of my good friends plays over. He was showing me stuff they do and players at my position. Any way I can learn and improve, take bits from whatever they try to do.”
Committing Less Turnovers
Though the preseason was only a sample size, Randle did improve on not turning the ball over, as he only averaged 0.8 turnovers through the four preseason games, which is a huge positive because he has been a turnover machine for the past three seasons.
When looking at his assists-to-turnover ratio, Randle dished out 17 assists and committed only four turnovers in the preseason. The power forward should have less weight on his shoulders this season due to Jalen Brunson commanding the offense and being the lead playmaker.
Last season Randle averaged 3.4 turnovers, coughing up the ball 245 times which ranked seventh most in the league. Ever since he was signed by the Knicks in the 2019 offseason, Randle has averaged at least three turnovers per game. If he continues to focus on taking care of the basketball, the Knicks’ offense should look more smooth in a half-court set.
Randle has been more effective when he isn’t the main focal point on offense and defenses aren’t prioritizing him. The Dallas native has mentioned Brunson being an easy fit on the team, complementing his game during the post-practice press conference.
“Naturally he’s a really good scorer,” Randle said. “He learning how to really balance it at the point guard position. When to get his or set other guys up, it’s a balance that he’s figuring out fast.”
Going Up Against Memphis
The Knicks will start their regular season on the road against the Memphis Grizzlies on October 19.
Grizzlies power forward Jaren Jackson Jr. has been sidelined after having a procedure done on his right foot in the offseason and won’t play against the Knicks. With the defensive specialist out, it’s likely that Randle could go up against Brandon Clarke or Dillon Brooks.
Both players have been key players in the Grizzlies’ resurgence. Clarke has been a spark plug off the bench and Brooks has been a valuable starter since being drafted in 2017.
An intriguing matchup will be Mitchell Robinson going up against Steven Adams at the center position. Robinson and Adams are premier rebounders in the league, especially on the offensive glass.
Last season Adams finished first in offseason rebounds with an average of 4.6 offensive per game. Robinson finished right behind the veteran center with an average of 4.1 offensive rebounds, earning himself second place in that category.