Knicks Urged to Alter Game Plan at Expense of Julius Randle

Julius Randle, New York Knicks

Getty Julius Randle of the New York Knicks celebrates with Immanuel Quickley after making a basket.

Throughout his tenure with the New York Knicks, Julius Randle has predominantly served as the team’s primary playmaker and ball handler and boasts a lofty usage rate of 29.1 since the 2020-21 season.

Now, with prized point guard Jalen Brunson hobbled with a nagging foot ailment, Randle’s been relied upon a bit more than usual to try and get Tom Thibodeau’s offense up and running. In the eyes of one noteworthy Knicks fan, this should not be the club’s game plan moving forward.

Directly following New York’s latest loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, while appearing on ESPN’s NBA Countdown Stephen A. Smith was seen urging head coach Tom Thibodeau to stop running the ball through his star forward so frequently and, instead, start utilizing third-year guard 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.

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With Brunson being in and out of the lineup of late with his foot injury, Immanuel Quickley has stepped up and served as his primary replacement within the starting unit.

This season, when slotted into the first five, the 23-year-old has managed to post astounding per-game averages of 19.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 4.8 assists on 35.3% shooting from deep while sporting a lethal offensive rating of 125.

Against Los Angeles, registered yet another strong showing, as he finished with a team-high 26 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists, and a steal on 37.5% shooting from deep.

Quickley has shown time and time again that when tasked with taking on a larger role he’s capable of delivering in major ways and it is because of this that he believes the guard should be utilized more as a ball handler and playmaker while Brunson remains out, specifically during crunch-time situations.

Brunson Has Been Big For Knicks in Crunch Time

Though Randle has undoubtedly come up big late in games this season, with a recent example being his game-winning shot against the Miami Heat, throughout the 2022-23 campaign he has been less relied upon during crunch time due to the excellent production put forth by Jalen Brunson.

Since his first game as a member of the Knicks, the 26-year-old’s expertise down the stretch has proven to be miraculous, and it has shown both with the eye test as well as within the advanced statistics.

As things currently stand, Brunson trails only De’Aaron Fox and Jimmy Butler in clutch points this season with 129 while also shooting a highly efficient 50.6% from the field and 37.5% from distance.

Throughout his inaugural season in New York, Jalen Brunson has been a true sensation and a well-noted All-Star snub as he has posted impressive per-game averages of 23.8 points, 6.1 assists, and 3.6 rebounds on 48.7% shooting from the field and 41.4% shooting from deep.

Former Knicks Guard Sounds Off on Time in New York

Former Knicks forward Cam Reddish recently spoke out about his tenure with the New York Knicks, as he told the New York Daily News that he was happy to now be in a different environment with the Portland Trail Blazers.

“I’m in a completely different place. Now I’m blessed. Not everybody gets another opportunity so it’s refreshing,” said Reddish. “I got some great teammates. Great staff. It’s real positive around here. Win, lose or draw. It’s not somebody beating you over your head — not that that was happening in New York — but it’s more my style.”

Reddish, who spent just over a full year as a member of the Knicks, saw on-court action on a total of 35 occasions. Reddish told reporter Stefan Bondy that the reasoning behind his lacking role in New York was “all the politics, all the favoritism.”

The fourth-year veteran now finds himself being far more utilized as a member of the Trail Blazers, as he’s posting 13.8 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.4 steals on 46.4% shooting from the floor and 38.2% shooting from deep in 12 games played with the franchise.

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