One of the surprising aspects of the NBA seasons thus far has been the elevated play of Julius Randle for the 5-4 New York Knicks.
Through 9 games, the Knicks find themselves surprisingly ahead of crosstown rivals Brooklyn Nets in the standings. The Knicks have retooled their roster around Julius Randle. Increased effort from the players inspired by Tom Thibodeau has helped their case a ton.
It seemed they would go the familiar ‘Lolknicks’ route once they opened their campaign with losses to Indiana and Philly. But they have gone on a 5-2 run since, beating the Bucks by 20 points en route. It has been an exhilarating time to be a Knicks fan once again after 7 years of despair.
Although these are the early stages of the season, there are very few aspects of their game that prove unsustainable. Among them is Julius Randle’s improved play.
The improved stats put up by Julius Randle
In his 7th season now, Randle is playing a career-high 37.7 minutes per game – typical of Tom Thibodeau’s starter-heavy tactics. This increased role has resulted in him posting some great numbers. Through 9 games, Randle is averaging 22 points, 12 rebounds and 7 assists per game.
To put this in perspective, no Knicks player has ever sniffed this many assists per game while having 12 boards. Patrick Ewing’s best comparable season by raw stats is 1992-93, when he averaged 24 and 12, but with 1.9 assists per game.
Julius Randle is locked in this season 🔥
22.1 PPG | 11.4 RPG | 7.4 APG pic.twitter.com/WYrrYU9iNA
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 5, 2021
Randle is turning the ball over 4.6 times per game, but many of them are off the dribble than off bad passes. He’s undoubtedly unlocked a new playmaking gear hitherto unseen.
Randle has also bumped his 3-point attempts up to a career-high 3.6 per game, and is making 36% of those shots. His field goal percentage is a bit below his usual averages, but that is the consequence of increased responsibility.