Hard to recognize Julius Randle. Whoever embodied this hungry leader last year, to bring the Knicks back to the Top 4 in the East and be rewarded with an MIP title and an All-Star star is now only the shadow of himself, with air pockets that multiply, and a frankly suspicious attitude.
Author of 11 points at 5/12 shooting, 6 rebounds and 4 assists in 27 minutes on the floor of an unleashed Miami team, he went through the meeting like a ghost to finally be left on the bench in the last act.
“All players go through difficult times”, tempered Tom Thibodeau which therefore refused to overwhelm its leader. “But when the scoring isn’t there, you can’t let that rob the team of your intensity. Often it’s aggressive actions that get you into the game. This is probably the most important thing. He proved that he was a good player and he will become one again”.
His four lost balls and especially his -34 +/- do not deceive anyone as to his commitment, as well as his sense of responsibility which has also disappeared since he did not appear in the post-match conference. . An attitude that has become recurrent following the defeats, and which has already cost his club a fine.
It’s hard to know what’s going on internally as the various stakeholders have kicked in on the Randle enigma, which, after pulling everyone up last season, seems to be producing the opposite effect this year.
” We’ll see. The thing is, it’s not just the incumbents. The bench did some good things, but we need everyone to play well.”, concluded Tom Thibodeau.