The New York Knicks have been a disappointment during the second round of the 2023 NBA Playoffs. They currently trail the Miami Heat 3 games to 1, and a promising season could be coming to a close at the hands of an old rival.
Their fans have been passionate. It has been a long time since the Knicks have been relevant in the Eastern Conference. They play in the biggest market in the country and are one of the three teams in the league that are known worldwide, and yet fans are starved for success. Before this year, the team had only qualified for the postseason once since 2013.
Smith: Knicks Should Trade Julius Randle
Knicks PF Julius Randle and coach Tom Thibodeau were heard having a heated verbal exchange following their Game 4 loss against the Heat
— Playbook Sports (@PlaybookSN) May 9, 2023
So when New York was able to knock off the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round, people took to the streets to celebrate. Things were finally looking up for the Knicks, and they’d be squaring off against the 8th seed in the second round instead of going up against the Bucks. They’d just have to get by the red-hot Jimmy Butler.
It hasn’t gone very well for the Knicks, and now the blame is coming down on the players that got them to this point.
For Knicks superfan and ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith, a lot of the blame is being handed down to forward Julius Randle. A couple of years removed from his career year in 2020-21, Randle was still a top contributor for New York during the regular season. He played the first 77 games of the schedule and was ultra-reliable, averaging 25 points and 10 rebounds.
"I think [Knicks] should trade [Julius Randle]… From a talent perspective particularly come Playoff time, I'd rather have Karl-Anthony Towns."
—Stephen A. Smith
(via @ESPNNBA) pic.twitter.com/6D6R2fOIJK
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) May 9, 2023
But the playoffs have brought out a different side of him. In the first round series against the Cavaliers, Randle was only able to crack the 20 point mark once, and scored 13 or less in the final three contests. It looked like he might have righted the ship in Game 2 of Round 2. He scored 25 points, pulled down 12 rebounds, and dished out 8 assists after not playing in the previous game, and the Knicks tied the series at 1 game a piece.
Randle Has Struggled More Much Of Postseason
I'm so disgusted with Julius Randle. …
I'm on the verge of asking for him to be traded. pic.twitter.com/sCeIJTJhBf
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) May 9, 2023
Things have only gotten worse for him since then. Game 3 was an abysmal performance for Randle, as he scored 10 points on 4 of 15 shooting, including 0 for 5 from behind the 3 point line. He also made just 2 of his 5 free throws. The numbers themselves looked better in Game 4, as he got up to 20 points and 9 rebounds. But he had 6 turnovers and fouled out of the game as the Heat were making their final victory push.
Smith thinks he should be traded. On ESPN’s First Take on Tuesday, he said that while the durability is not an issue with Randle, the playoff performance is. Smith goes on to say that the team should look into trading him, and perhaps getting a guy like Karl-Anthony Towns in exchange.
To make things infinitly worse for himself, Randle had quite an interesting sound bite after the game. When asked about the rebounding performance gaps between the teams, Randle simply stated, “Maybe they just wanted it more than us. I don’t know.”
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