Julius Randle has been an absolute revelation for the New York Knicks in 2022-23 and, in turn, finds himself right on the cusp of etching himself into the franchise’s history books.
Sunday night’s triumph over the Los Angeles Lakers marked the 16 time this season that the 28-year-old has registered 30 or more points during a game on the road, as he finished the contest with 33 points to go along with 8 rebounds and 5 assists.
Per ESPN, this brand of scoring production ties Randle with Knicks legend Bernard King for the most of such outings.
Considering he has already dropped a 30-plus point performance against two of the Knicks’ upcoming road opponents in the Cleveland Cavaliers and, most recently, the Miami Heat, there’s still a rather realistic chance that Randle can wind up taking the thrown atop this statistical category all by himself come year’s end.
Knicks Urged to ‘Stop Putting the Ball’ in Randle’s Hands
While a large part of Julius Randle’s offensive game is predicated on isolation usage and on-ball play, lifelong Knicks fans Stephen A. Smith recently went on record urging the team to stop putting the ball in the big man’s hands so often.
Following the club’s Saturday night loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, during an appearance on ESPN’s NBA Countdown, the ESPN personality went on a tirade pleading with head coach Tom Thibodeau to stop running the offense through his star forward so frequently throughout the game and, instead, suggested that they start utilizing Immanuel Quickley as a main playmaker.
“What I was looking for (during the Clippers game) was the New York Knicks to find somebody to put the ball in the hand other than Julius Randle. Now, Julius Randle has been struggling…I just have a problem with how many times he tries to create contact, makes easier shots difficult, launching threes after dribbling the ball between his legs…You need the ball in a playmaker’s hands, ok? Jalen Brunson’s not out there. Immanuel Quickley can play, fellas…He can shoot perimeter shots, he can get into the teeth of a defense, he can distribute the basketball. Stop putting the ball in Julius Randle’s hands when things get tight,” Smith said.
As things currently stand, Julius Randle ranks within the top 10 in the league in isolation frequency at 20.8%, which, to Smith, along with a bevy of other like-minded Knicks fans out there, has proven to be a nauseating usage rate throughout the season and, arguably, his tenure as a whole in New York.
Knicks Guard Likely to Miss Portland Game
Currently dealing with a nagging foot injury, Knicks star guard Jalen Brunson is listed as ‘unlikely’ to suit up for the team’s upcoming matchup against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Should he remain sidelined, it will serve as Brunson’s fifth-missed game as a result of his lingering lower-body ailment.
Though not much is publicly known about the guard’s health status, recent reports state that a recent X-ray came back “negative,” thus giving fans and media pundits alike a bit of hope that he could, in theory, return to the hardwood sooner rather than later.
The 26-year-old is amid a phenomenal season during his inaugural run with the Knicks, as finds himself posting impressive per-game averages of 23.8 points, 6.1 assists, and 3.6 rebounds on 48.7% shooting from the floor and 41.4% shooting from distance.