I’ve got a feeling David Fizdale is the most hated man in New York City.
Fizdale fooled everyone to believe that Julius Randle is an inconsistent player whose best trait is turning the ball over and he’ll end up as another lottery bust who wore a Knicks jersey.
Well, seven games under head coach Tom Thibodeau, Randle is already looking like he’s having a career year.
That is why I say to get on the “Randle Most Improved Player Bandwagon” right now before we’re too full.
This stock is rising, so you better buy now.
Entering Monday, he had been averaging 27 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists.
No typos there.
He then dropped 28 points, 17 rebounds, and nine assists in a comeback victory over the Atlanta Hawks. He also had nine turnovers.
The change in Randle’s play under Thibodeau is remarkable. It’s jaw-droppingly better. After two shaky outings, which will always happen to a basketball player, Randle returned to play at the high caliber he displayed in the first week of the season.
Randle currently leads the NBA among power forwards in rebounds per game and assists per game. He also ranks fifth in points per game. For his career, shot 49% from the field and 30% from behind the arc. This year, he is shooting 50% from the field and 40% from three.
Randle also ranks second in the NBA among all players in minutes per game with 38.4. Teammate RJ Barrett leads with 38.7. If Thibodeau can find another three or four minutes of rest each, I’ll be happier. But the Knicks are winning, so I’m already happy.
The Knicks have to look at being able to run with Immanuel Quickley, Austin Rivers, Barrett, Randle, and Mitchell Robinson. These are the best five players on this roster and everyone sees it. I don’t see why Elfrid Payton and Reggie Bullock continue to start, the ball just seems to stop moving, the momentum flutters, the Knicks seem out of sorts when they are on the court.
When the Knicks remove Payton and Bullock and replace them with Rivers and Quickley, they provide that spark.
Take Monday night’s game as an example. The Knicks trailed by 15 with about four minutes left in the third quarter. Rivers and Quickley finished the third and played the entire fourth quarter and finished the road trip with a win.
Lastly, Kevin Knox. Like Randle, he had back-to-back off nights. Keep going. The jumper looks good. It looks prettier. It looks better. The confidence is back. It’s going to happen and I believe in you. I see the role Kevin Knox could have with this team and it’ll benefit both him and the Knicks.
With the victory against the Hawks, the Knicks improve to 4-3, winning four of their last five, and look like a professional, NBA-caliber team. They went 3-1 in their four-game road trip.
This is fun. I didn’t believe in them, but after seven games, I’ve fallen in love with this team again.
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