After the New York Knicks started the season on cloud nine, they have come down to earth just a tad. After winning five of the first six games of the season, they’ve lost three of their last five. Still, at 7-4, the Knicks are better than they were last season. The Knicks had four more losses last season when they picked up win number seven. However, for the first time in decades, the Eastern Conference is the juggernaut in the NBA. If the Knicks were in the West, their 7-4 record would place them in fifth. 

But they’re in seventh place in the Eastern Conference.

Maybe the Knicks should have a better record. The victories over the Bucks, Bulls and Sixers surely makes fans feel good, but that feeling is somewhat clouded due to the losses the Knicks have suffered. They laid a dud against the Orlando Magic in the first week of the season. The losses against the Raptors and the Pacers were games in which a Knicks fan just has to tip their hat to the opposition. It seems as though they didn’t respect the Cleveland Cavaliers, who are trending up. But, these are games Knicks fans, and surely the organization, expected to win.

But there has been much talk among fans on who to blame and the scapegoat has been All-Star forward Julius Randle.

There have been moments in which his shot selection is a tad questionable and his body language does bring some bother.

But, come on.

Randle continues to play basketball at an exceptional level. He is averaging a double-double, 23 points and 11 rebounds a night. He continues to shoot over 40% from the field and his lowest point total in a single game this year was 10, which came in a win over the Pelicans in the Big Easy.

His rebounding is in the top 10, outrebounding Clint Capela, Domantas Sabonis, Karl Anthony-Towns and Joel Embiid. His 5.5 assists per game ranks behind just Draymond Green, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Nikola Jokic among big men. 

He also averages a block a game, more than Jarrett Allen and Jonas Valanciunas. Lastly, his efficiency is 26.3, which is eleventh in the league. He ranks behind Jokic, Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, Rudy Gobert, Stephen Curry, Jimmy Butler, Anthony Davis, Valanciunas, Paul George and Anthony-Towns.

He has recovered 1.1 loose balls, second most on the team, and contests 7.1 shots, also second most on the team.

Night in and night out, Randle is the guy who is the leader of this team on both ends of the court. He can’t take every shot every game and it isn’t his fault that the shots of his teammates aren’t falling. 

“Well maybe they should stop shooting all these threes if they aren’t falling.”

Maybe you’re right. But guess what? This is how they want to play basketball. The analytics say “the more threes you shoot, the better chance you’ll win.” The same way people in baseball analytics say “the more home runs you hit, the better chance you’ll win, no matter how many times you strikeout.”

Quit your whining about it. This isn’t changing and there is nothing you can do about it.

Stop pinning the blame on Julius Randle. Without him, the Knicks would be a punching bag in a tough Eastern Conference. 

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