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$43 Million Guard Has Had a Major Impact on Knicks Franchise Centerpiece

Getty Julius Randle of the New York Knicks celebrates during the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers.

After a surprisingly successful 2020-21 campaign that saw them snap an eight-year postseason draught, the New York Knicks fell back down to their oh-so-familiar lottery-dwelling status in 2021-22, finishing the year off as the 11 seed in the Eastern Conference standings with a lackluster record of just 37-45.

As is the case with most stars across the association, though basketball may be a team sport, the overwhelming majority of the blame for their sub-.500 finish was assigned to franchise centerpiece, Julius Randle, who struggled mightily to live up to his recently acquired All-NBA moniker.

Through 72 games played, the big man went on to post averages of 20.1 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 5.1 assists.

On the surface, these numbers may appear to be rather impressive, but when coupled with his shooting splits of just 41% from the floor and 31% from deep it’s quite evident that his play on the floor was far from efficient.

That said, not all of his struggles can be attributed to his misdoings alone, for the Knicks were constantly seeing key contributors falling out of the rotation during the campaign due to injuries and other health-related ailments which, inevitably, forced Randle to kick into overdrive in an effort to try and pick up the slack.

Needless to say, this proved to be a bit too much for the 27-year-old, ergo his on-court inefficiencies.

Easily the least dependable area of the depth chart last season proved to be in their backcourt, particularly at point guard where they saw a plethora of players slotting in as the starting one, with natural wing, Alec Burks, even finding some considerable run as the team’s floor general.

Having lacking production coming from the game’s most important position can wind up negatively impacting the way a team and its players perform, and one could certainly argue this to be one of the main reasons for Julius Randle’s sub-par season.

In fact, the loss of Derrick Rose could easily be viewed as the biggest blow for both the franchise as well as the star forward.

A Healthy Rose Has Only Benefited Randle

The Knicks were bitten by the injury bug rather early last season, as their most established point guard option, Derrick Rose, went down with an ankle injury in mid-December which ended up keeping him sidelined for the remainder of the year.

This turn of events proved to have quite a negative impact on New York as a whole, but especially on the likes of Julius Randle.

From the eye test alone, without Rose in tow, the power forward looked to struggle mightily with his shot and overall efficiency. However, when delving into the numbers, such a notion becomes far more apparent.

In games where both Rose and Randle suited up for the Knicks in 2021-22 the big man saw himself producing like his All-Star self, putting up 20.4 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 5.3 assists on 36% shooting from distance.

Without the guard, however, his effectiveness diminished considerably, as he would put up 19.9 points, 10.1 rebounds, and 5.0 assists on 39.9% shooting from the field and 27.6% shooting from deep.

Rose’s impact on Randle’s productivity is not just a trend seen this past season but, rather, throughout their entire New York tenure together, as the big boasts stellar averages of 23.4 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 5.5 assists on 39% shooting from deep in 60 total regular season games played alongside the former league MVP.

Knicks Are Refusing to Include Rose In a Donovan Mitchell Deal

Despite all the buzz about the Knicks being interested in striking up a blockbuster deal for Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell, The Atheltic’s Tony Jones told HoopsHype in an August 5 interview that Leon Rose is reluctant to include Derrick Rose in such negotiations, stating:

“The Knicks don’t want to unload Derrick Rose. He’s long been a favorite of Tom Thibodeau. I know the Knicks want to hang onto him and Grimes. Those guys are priorities.”

Since making his return to the Knicks midway through the 2020-21 season, not only has he had a major impact on Julius Randle but also the team as a whole.

In his 61 games played with the club over this stretch, New York has gone on to win 59% of their contests and managed to clinch their first playoff berth since 2013 in the process.

 

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