New York Knicks: Julius Randle should not be traded

Julius Randle, New York Knicks. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
Julius Randle, New York Knicks. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) /

The New York Knicks have won 3 of their past four games due to a stifling defense and opportunistic offense. One of the major players to step up has been Julius Randle, who is starting to live up to his hefty 3-year, $62 million contract that he signed during this past offseason.

Despite his improved play, there have still been some legitimate concerns regarding his defense and three-point shooting. When Steve Popper of Newsday recently reported that the New York Knicks were open to trading Julius Randle, many fans wanted the former lottery pick gone.

However, the promotion of interim head coach Mike Miller has done wonders for Randle’s game. Here are two major reasons why the front office should keep him.

He’s at His Best With a True Point Guard

Frank Ntilikina is an amazing defender and is developing a serviceable three point shot, but he’s often quick to defer to a teammate. His unselfishness is both a blessing and a curse, as Randle instead functions best with a shot-creating point guard like Elfrid Payton.

The former Pelicans teammates are currently outscoring opponents by 7.4 points per 100 possessions when they share the court, and it’s not hard to see why. Payton uses his length and size to get to the basket, finding cutters or kicking it out to an open teammate on the perimeter.

Randle is at his best when getting the rock while already in his attacking motion rather than being ball-dominant and creating offense for himself. In Knicks wins, 41% of his field goal makes are assisted compared to just 36% in losses.

Mike Miller has made a point to let Randle work where he’s most comfortable, and the results are already paying off. In 5 games under Miller, the 25-year old is averaging 19.7 points and 10.2 rebounds per game while shooting 46% from the floor and 33% from deep. He’s also a +11 over the past five games, showing that he’s not just putting up empty stats.

No More Point-Forward

Julius Randle has a complicated passing ability. Sometimes he can make some head-scratching decisions like missing wide open shooters, and other times he can find cutters at the perfect spot for an easy bucket.

Former head coach David Fizdale tried to experiment with having Julius Randle bringing the ball up the court, similar to players like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Justise Winslow, and Draymond Green. This didn’t work, as Randle averaged 3.5 assists and 3.3 turnovers per game before Fizdale was dismissed.

Under Miller, the disparity in those numbers has already improved to 3.2 assists and just 1.8 turnovers per game.

New York Knicks: Starting point guard role has become Elfrid Payton’s place. dark. Next

The Knicks need Randle to perform at a high level if they want to finish the season on a strong note. Randle is finally starting to return to form under Miller, and his production is leading to wins, the team would be foolish to trade him now.