NY Post: Julius Randle absolutely dominates Mavericks to keep Knicks rolling

From Marc Berman:

Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle knew what his club might be in for with Julius Randle back in his hometown of Big D.

“He’s an All-Star who loves coming back to play here,’’ Carlisle said before the game.

And how. Friday was Randle’s best game yet — and one of the Knicks’ most impressive victories this season.

It has been an eventful week of homecoming games for Randle, and he capped it with a spectacular 44-point outing that paced the streaking Knicks to a terrific 117-109 victory over the Mavericks before a pandemic crowd of 4,000 fans at American Airlines Center.

The Knicks won their season-high fifth straight game to go a season-high three games over .500 at 30-27, and Randle missed tying his career high by one point. The Knicks, who are 3-1 against their former star, Kristaps Porzingis, the past two seasons, hadn’t won five straight in seven years.

Yeah, I agree, the Grizzlies win was very nice, but this was a much better win. This was a dominant road win over a team that is a good deal better than Memphis. Randle just demolished them. Wow.

The Knicks are now in the #6 spot and have a real chance of sticking there and avoiding the play-in game entirely, which would be wonderful. Heck, they could even move up to the #4/5 series, but that’d be tougher. But doable! Especially if they just keep winning every darn game!

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86 thoughts to “NY Post: Julius Randle absolutely dominates Mavericks to keep Knicks rolling”

  1. Randle balling out. Noel’s block was must see TV
    That was a very satisfying win, in control virtually the entire game on the road. The look on Mark Cuban’s masked face was precious.

    Mavs complaining on Every call gets old in a hurry. All in all they have a very high unlikeable factor to them. That draft pick just might turn out to be pretty good. Dallas looks somewhat in disarray at the moment.

  2. 538’s game-by-game projection model has us favoured in 5 of the next eight. Of the others only the Phoenix game looks like a sure loss. If we can actually go 5-3 over the next eight we’d be in great shape. Four after that look like very likely losses, final three are closer. I’d say 36-36 is well within reach and 37-35 definitely possible. More than that feels like a stretch but .500 on the season would be incredible.

  3. Admittedly, we’re no longer likely to add a high lottery pick, but take a .500 team with great D, add two mid-1rps, and enter the off-season with league-leading cap space is a great recipe. The cap space lasts to next summer before we have to start handing out the cash to our existing players, so this summer we can either roll over our own FAs, look to use the space in a trade to add help, or use it to add draft collateral and continue the steady rebuild. It’s a great place to be if Rose and co can maximise it.

  4. I had a long day and couldn’t stay up past the third quarter. I left the ESPN gamecast page open on my phone, went to sleep hoping we could hang on to the lead. Woke up earlier than I wanted, but what a good feeling to see that final score!

    Randle is just a beast. My goodness. He reminds me of Ewing in terms of the sheer effort he seems to be putting in on every possession.

  5. Also, the Knicks being good allows me to be much less frustrated with the garbage fire that is the Yankees season so far.

  6. Frank was a plus 5 people! Why aren’t people talking about Frank?

    I kid. People should be talking about RJ. He played great defense and the way he finished through/over KP at close range was probably the most personally satisfying thing I have seen him do in the NBA. He balled last night.

    Also, this was goddamn amazing. How many teams wish they had signed Noel?

    https://twitter.com/bleacherreport/status/1383268041216061442?s=21

  7. Anyone notice in the Mavs previous game Doncic game-winner, KP body language and his subsequent absence in the team mob celebrating around Luka?

    For the first time in 8 years, the Knicks have a team. I love the way the bench celebrates in unison any good play. They are not the best team, and may not have future NBA champ DNA, but its a team. They give the good teams a competitive game, and rarely cough it up against bad teams.

  8. Considering that once Thibs was hired, certain givens had to be accepted (not tanking, heavy reliance on vets, heavy minutes, slow pace, unimaginative offense, affinity for old Bulls) this is a better outcome than I could have hoped for. I am so freaking into the grit-and-grind of this team!

    The only bummer is the uncertainty going forward. Who will be around next year and the year after that? There is literally zero clarity beyond RJ, and maybe Randle.

  9. Owen: Also, this was goddamn amazing. How many teams wish they had signed Noel?

    I dozed off and missed this, woke up midway through the 4th. Thanks for posting it!

  10. Alan:

    Randle is just a beast. My goodness. He reminds me of Ewing in terms of the sheer effort he seems to be putting in on every possession.

    Agree, and like those Ewing teams, our success often depends on whether Burks (Starks?) or RJ (Mason?) are hitting shots when Randle passes out of the double team.

  11. Owen:
    People should be talking about RJ. He played great defense and the way he finished through/over KP at close range was probably the most personally satisfying thing I have seen him do in the NBA. He balled last night.

    Totally. That sequence when Randle sat out? Blink and you missed it, but RJ turned on his motor and did exactly what we needed.

    Also, this was goddamn amazing. How many teams wish they had signed Noel?

    https://twitter.com/bleacherreport/status/1383268041216061442?s=21

    Exactly. How does he do it? Noel looks like he weighs about 140 pounds under all those football pads. Standing next to Randle, he’s like a stick, and you’d never peg him as our center. But Noel is having a great season. Pay the man.

  12. Sly:

    For the first time in 8 years, the Knicks have a team.I love the way the bench celebrates in unison any good play.They are not the best team, and may not have future NBA champ DNA, but its a team.They give the good teams a competitive game, and rarely cough it up against bad teams.

    Exactly this. I wouldn’t trade our guys for Brooklyn (or Dallas or LA or NoLa or +)

  13. I mean, I hear you, but would I trade Burks, Randle and RJ for Harden, Durant and Irving?

    Don’t put a gun to my head on that one…

  14. Owen:
    I mean, I hear you, but would I trade Burks, Randle and RJ for Harden, Durant and Irving?

    Don’t put a gun to my head on that one…

    haha. not me. for real.

  15. KB Apprentice: Agree, and like those Ewing teams, our success often depends on whether Burks (Starks?) or RJ (Mason?) are hitting shots when Randle passes out of the double team.

    Yes! This team reminds me of the ’91-92 team (Riley’s first year); watching KP and Luka whining to the refs that they’re getting fouled; Randle and RJ are giving me Ewing and Starks vibes. Maybe it’s that Thibs was an assistant to JVG who was an assistant to Riley. But probably I’m just high off of the last two wins.

  16. Great, sweet win against a team really easy to hate.
    Luka is really annoying, alas this aren’t the ’80s so nobody’s going to clock him a good one to shut his mouth…

    The Randle’s Motivations Express is in full bore, still one stop to go.

    It’s really shocking the way they have turned things around from Memphis’ third quarter on…
    This is a real team, far from perfect but a real team, the defense is here to stay and is really hard to not root for them… well most of them :-)

    P.S.
    The rookies are really struggling on defense, Thibs’ actions show that he’s mad at them…

  17. The Mavs have to realize the way you win at basketball is to defend your ass off, move the ball, and put together a team of players that actually likes each other and plays for each other. Oh yeah, and have a coach that is prepared and gets those players to buy into the magic formula and keeps getting better at it. You don’t win with offensively talented cry babies and stat stuffers that don’t defend and don’t even like each other.

    Could you imagine if we traded Randle for a bag of rocks (a pick that would have landed us an 18 year old role player) because he had a bad year last year on a poorly coached team?

    Could you imagine if we didn’t draft RJ and instead traded down and selected two low volume scorers that could rebound and that became good role players? RJ has beast potential on both sides. That block last night was like damn!

    Could you imagine if we didn’t hire Thibs and had the 25th best defense and still stunk?

    Wait until RJ adds to his game, we add another major scoring option/high quality shooter, and strengthen the bench. We are doing this without Mitch and without Burks last night who is often critical to our offense because of all the things we still lack on that side.

    We are playing basketball the right way!

    All we need is a little more talent and development.

  18. DS: But probably I’m just high off of the last two wins.

    Haha. Likewise. We have to enjoy it while it lasts.

  19. Max:

    This is a real team, far from perfect but a real team, the defense is here to stay and is really hard to not root for them… well most of them :-)

    Yeah, I know this place is all about stats, but we’ve had a lot of guys (for decades!) who were just annoying AF. Somehow even Derrick Rose (who used to be one of those guys!) is even rootable now. And I don’t think it’s just because we’re winning. I’ve stuck with this team in some bad mistake-filled losses just because the effort was still there.

    P.S.
    The rookies are really struggling on defense, Thibs’ actions show that he’s mad at them…

    Agreed. But how much easier is Thibs’s job teaching them when Randle is pissed after every Dallas basket, right? Compare that to Luka’s whining, or the past efforts of He who should not be named (Mxlo).

  20. There are a shocking number of candidates, but between Randle’s game, RJ’s game, and of course the opponent, I think last night was the best win of the season. I just hit “fully vaccinated,” so it inspired me to buy tickets for Sunday (they weren’t cheap so if Zion load manages I’m rebranding as an “everyone is soft now” guy).

    I won’t lie, I am a little nervous about the implications this season has on the future. We’ve seen some examples of teams making short-sighted moves because they overrated the importance of what turned out to be a fairly anomalous promising season e.g. the 2018-2019 Kings.

    It’s an exciting time because there are legitimately a lot of avenues we can use to get better as english knick said, but without a top 5 pick none of them will be particularly easy to pull off. We simply cannot afford Frank/Knox/Obi (prove me wrong about that last one big fella) misses in the draft and we’ll have to use our cap space with ruthless efficiency. In Brock Aller Shot Caller we trust right?

    In any event, I ain’t gonna complain about winning a lot more games than I thought we would because this definitely feels a lot different than Courtney Lee and Enes Kanter giving us 5 more meaningless wins than the other moribund teams. I’m officially here for the ride. The defense specifically is just insane, I’m still not sure Thibs would be my first choice but I can’t deny he seems to have a pretty unique impact, warts and all.

  21. Five wins in a row and nothing feels soft.
    From the moment we heard we might get Thibs I have been all in on him.
    NY basketball is about gritty defense.
    And Thibs is playing young fellas as they are learning to play the right way.

    How often have we seen the Knicks fade when other playoff teams start their late season crescendo?

    Not this team. The Knicks are surging.
    And before we rule them out of any game against a great team, this team has battled the Sixers, the Nets, and Phoenix among others to the end.
    They have fallen just short so far, but Phoenix will need to play very well to beat this squad.
    They are learning how to win late, important games.
    Watch this team. The are greater than the sum of their parts.

    Not saying they run deep. Just suggesting they are asking tough questions of good teams.

  22. I don’t even know what to say. I mean..even at my most optimistic, I didn’t expect us to sustain this level of play this deep into the season. A home game against NO is completely winnable, and if that happens- I might just lose my mind! Miami helped us by losing, but I expect them to come on strong much like Boston is doing. So unless Atlanta falls apart, we are looking at the 7 seed most likely. That’s way better than any one of us thought we’d be in Thibs’ first year.

    Oh..I do wonder how feasible it would be for use to keep both Mitch and Noel for the next few years. I do love that tandem. But I also wonder if we use Mitch and Obi in a deal to pry a star player like Fox or Beal loose. This season has brought forth possibilities that I didn’t think I would see any time soon. I’m excited.

  23. Usually i don’t watch west coast games as here the start is at 2:30AM or even later, but what a great feeling checking the score in the morning. And even better that now it’s a likely outcome to be in the 7th/8th game or better.
    I know i shouldn’t be pointing problems during the longest winning streak in such a long time, but RJ playing 46 mins is in fact a problem. Let’s hope it was only this time, and in the next games Thibs will manage his minutes.

  24. Haven’t been posting lately, but I’m just so happy with how this team plays, and, like everyone else, I think this kind of play looks more and more sustainable and less and less like Arron Afflalo and Courtney Lee giving us marginal wins on a team going nowhere. Press has reported worrying smoke signals from time to time from the Rose FO (e.g. the interest in Oladipo), but I can’t fault them when they haven’t made any really bad decisions regarding trades or free agents, so I’m cautiously optimistic. In any case, this team is fun as hell to watch despite looking like the grit and grind Grizzlies on O.

    Now that our draft position seems to be stabilizing outside of the lottery (in the 18-22 range unless Dallas implodes), I’d be really happy with drafting two of these players: Giddey (who, after watching some tape of, I really, really like–but he might end up in the lottery yet), Springer, Dosunmu, Butler, and Duarte (probably in that order, though drafting two PGs would be duplicative, so it would look more like Giddey/Springer/Ayo and Butler/Duarte). This team could look pretty solid next season just by bringing most of this squad back and adding two mid first picks, our early second (if we’re lucky), and maybe an Obi trade.

  25. It absolutely is a moment to be excited for, because this is happening under pretty good conditions, we have extra draft picks, a ton of cap space and Randle is still only 26, just getting to his prime. Barrett’s development is still the most exciting thing, but it really is just different from those teams with zero potential upside on the roster.

    I think there’s a real chance this season is the one that changes the Knicks perception around the league in a meaningful way. I don’t generally put too much importance on this type of thing, but if Rose can hit on one or two more moves in the off-season, there’s a real path towards contending in the near future.

  26. The Mavs have to realize the way you win at basketball is to defend your ass off, move the ball, and put together a team of players that actually likes each other and plays for each other. Oh yeah, and have a coach that is prepared and gets those players to buy into the magic formula and keeps getting better at it. You don’t win with offensively talented cry babies and stat stuffers that don’t defend and don’t even like each other.

    They have a better record than we do!

  27. Alan: Also, this video of Randle defending Luka 1-on-1 is, as the kids say, giving me life.

    Now i’m curious about this play, Alan, but the link you posted goes for that Thibs “you’re asking me if i’m happy?” clip.

  28. Alan:
    Also, the Knicks being good allows me to be much less frustrated with the garbage fire that is the Yankees season so far.

    I couldn’t believe myself last night when I realized that the Knicks game would give me way more pleasure than the Yankees.

  29. KP is really not much of a rim protector. He gets some blocks here and there but the Mavs’ interior defense is soft when he’s at the 5. He’s just too slow to challenge shots and doesn’t have a hard nosed mentality. When you combine the lack of fast-twitch reaction time with the lack of competitiveness on defense, you end up with a mediocre defender, which is not how Porzingis is advertised.

    Mavs fans are very aware of this.

  30. New York basketball is back! This is a Knicks team we can be proud of thanks to Thibs. Coach of the year in my book. Just add Lonzo and watch out.

  31. Randle’s perimeter defense this year has been almost as surprising as his shooting. He’s not AD or anything but he’s been very switchable out high. Last night may have been the best half court defense I’ve seen the Knicks play this year. They had somebody in Luka’s jersey all game- mostly Bullock but RJ, Payton, Rose and even Randle had really good possessions guarding him and their rotations were fantastic.

  32. been thinking about lonzo coming to new york, maybe my biggest concern regarding his game at this time is his availability, he misses a lot of games with injury stuff…

    Brunson didn’t look all that great yesterday, mostly he just looked short out there…

    maybe a two year deal for lowry wouldn’t be so terrible…need to go check, but isn’t mike conley gonna be available this off season…

    last night it looked like the knicks were doing a really good job on offense at finding mismatches…

  33. it was funny to read all the comments about how annoying a dude luka seems to be out on the court…

    I think it’s that smile of his while he’s constantly flapping his gums…you know he’s not really happy at the moment, it’s totally a smile intended to annoy others…

    very effectively…

  34. Lonzo has had a lot of nagging injuries, but he is still only 23 and has his best days in front of him. I don’t see a better long term pg solution for this team, unless we get lucky in the draft. I say go get him and give him the keys.

  35. Luka has sort of a “Carmelo” vibe to him, so does KP now that I think about it.

  36. Anything you’d give up for Beal would be better spent on a Haliburton, Fox or SGA. Not that any of them are available, but I have to imagine the price is lower. But I wouldn’t trade for any of them. Too expensive.

    they weren’t cheap so if Zion load manages I’m rebranding as an “everyone is soft now” guy)

    Hahaha, I would love to see a tnfh heel turn

  37. Luka was on track to get suspended for too many technical fouls until he had one rescinded the other day, so his whining is getting close to consequential.

  38. Seeing that Randle’s line last night was the first 40/10/5 for the Knicks since Bernard did it in 1985 just put a smile on my face. At this point I’m getting so attached to Randle that I truly want to see him stay long term with us. I know it might not be the most sensible way to build towards a championship, but it’s been so damn long since we had a true New York style star

  39. Randle should be kept. There’s no point in starting over when we have a second-tier star player who gets everyone involved. Cross your fingers and hope they find a secret-superstar point guard or wing in the draft.

  40. I don’t know if I’ll make it to see a Knicks championship down the line so I’m really enjoying every minute of this season.

  41. Randle MVP chants start sounding much less sarcastic as he continues playing in beast mode.
    He may not be the big dog you trust to win each game for you but he definitely gives his 100% and tries as hard as anybody to lead this pirate squad to the distant shores of Respectlandia.

  42. Jacob deGrom has nine straight K’s and counting. One shy of the all-time MLB record.

  43. The worst thing bout this Knicks season so far is that it took away our “beloved” addiction to pessimism, self-pitty, mockery and autosarcasm and left us with a brand new condition as fans to have to adjust believing in a highly rootable Team with a quite promising future.

  44. Aaaaand instead the Mets make two shitty fielding plays and now the Mets are gonna lose

    #Mets

  45. The Mets may have finally broken deGrom today. I’d argue 3 shitty plays. The error by McNeil, then two botches in RF by Conforto. Misplaying a double off the wall into a triple, then the horrible throw on the fly ball.

    Then the dude golfs a ball off the ground for a HR. Three unearned runs.

    As of right now, deGrom has an 0.47 ERA, but could be 0-2 in three starts.

  46. Watching the last minutes of yesterday’s game i had the feeling that The Mavs thought that they will definitely prevail in the end cause they’re more talented and their opponents are the loosers Knicks and they’re in control despite being down and that their comeback was inevitable and just a matter of time…
    Mavs tried hard but the Knicks wanted it badly.
    And made it happen.
    That’s Next Level mentality.

  47. deGrom and Diaz just eviscerated the Rockies.

    17 strikeouts in 7 innings. 30+ swinging strikes.

  48. Despite so many things not going well for the Mets out of the gate, they are 6-3.

  49. Knew Your Nicks:
    The worst thing bout this Knicks season so far is that it took away our “beloved” addiction to pessimism, self-pitty, mockery and autosarcasm and left us with a brand new condition as fans to have to adjust believing in a highly rootable Team with a quite promising future.

    While I do miss the snarkiness a little bit (when even Jowles is having fun, knickerblogger feels a bit different), it really shows that ir wasn’t just pessimism for the sake of it, like some posters loved to argue. The team was really directionless, drifting through overpaid has beens and making bad moves.

    All we, on the “team pessimism”, wanted was a direction, one that maximized what we could control of the process of building a great team eventually. Find stars, find undervalued players, gather draft picks and find talent where they fall, etc, and most of it has happened or is happening. Randle is legitimate a guy who could be the 2nd best player on a contender, Barrett has evolved like we wanted, Quickley was a great pick, the signings of Noel, Burks etc were sensible and kept flexibility and picks, no bad trades made… it’s what we all wanted.

    It came in an unconventional way and obviously there’s still a long road before this team is a contender, but now there’s a basic level of competence being shown by the FO, there’s good people on the team and there are actual reasons to be hopeful, not only blind optimism of the Polyanna order.

  50. Randle was amazing no doubt but I think RJ really deserves a lot of credit for that win. That stretch in the 4th when Randle was resting and RJ poured in 10 points let us keep the lead and grow it a little while Randle rested. You could see it deflated the mass cause they assumed that would be their time to take over and RJ was having none of it. Then when Randle came back in and hit that three and then the next play he found RJ for the open jumper…that was it. I fucking love this team so much. Love Randle and RJ and the chemistry they have. Our team is tough and plays hard. That Noel block had me jumping off the couch. So nasty.

  51. I really liked how Thibs matched Randle’s minutes to Doncic’s. I’m betting that messed up their psyches some.

  52. Correct me if i’m wrong but i remember “team pessimism” being far more active on this blog before this season, trying to prove statistically why we sucked, not believing:
    that coaching really matters and that it’s possible for crappy youngsters and bad shooters to improve significantly. And claiming that luck makes our D while the Team ain’t playing good but being extremely lucky.
    Polyanna has a twin wicked sister called Cassandra.

  53. Knew Your Nicks:
    Correct me if i’m wrong but i remember “team pessimism” being far more active on this blog before this season, trying to prove statistically why we sucked, not believing:
    that coaching really matters and that it’s possible for crappy youngsters and bad shooters to improve significantly. And claiming that luck makes our D while the Team ain’t playing good but beingextremely lucky.
    Polyanna has a twin wicked sister called Cassandra.

    Well, I can only speak for myself and I’m in the final stretch of my PhD thesis + pandemic in Brazil, which is a different beast from everywhere else lol.

    I think it’s more that there’s not much to discuss sometimes when things are just going well, like there’s only so many ways we can discuss Randle being good, RJ progressing, Noel being good etc. If someone says Alec Burks is a good player, there’s not much to argue fervently about in a statement like this.

  54. swiftandabundant:
    Randle was amazing no doubt but I think RJ really deserves a lot of credit for that win. That stretch in the 4th when Randle was resting and RJ poured in 10 points let us keep the lead and grow it a little while Randle rested. You could see it deflated the mass cause they assumed that would be their time to take over and RJ was having none of it. Then when Randle came back in and hit that three and then the next play he found RJ for the open jumper…that was it. I fucking love this team so much. Love Randle and RJ and the chemistry they have. Our team is tough and plays hard. That Noel block had me jumping off the couch. So nasty.

    Exactly this.

  55. Okay Bruno, so here’s the question I’ve been avoiding, partly because I think it’s very premature, and my brain slides off it when I think about it, and I am also just enjoying the present way too much to bother my little head with it. But here you go — where are we NOW on the win curve?

  56. Polyanna has a twin wicked sister called Cassandra.

    i’m sorry did you participate in any of the analysis previously or you just handwaving things now that things are safe from the bunker and now see it appropriate to lob names?

  57. Raven:
    Okay Bruno, so here’s the question I’ve been avoiding, partly because I think it’s very premature, and my brain slides off it when I think about it, and I am also just enjoying the present way too much to bother my little head with it. But here you go — where are we NOW on the win curve?

    I would say we’re at around the phase where a team should start trying to make the playoffs and actively improve the roster, with the caveat that we don’t need to hurry at all because of the picks we have and our best players all being under contract.

    Julius will eventually have to be re-signed next season, so the cap space we have right now pretty much goes away at the end of next season. In my opinion, Randle has shown he can be the 2nd best player in a very good team, and if Barrett keeps progressing in this path he’s pretty much a very good 3rd option. We still need the hardest part, which is finding at least one more top level player to be the other guy.

    I personally think the playoffs this year will shake up thr league majorly. If the Nets win, teams will rush to improve, like they did against the Warriors before, and opportunities will appear. My preference would be going for someone like Towns, who could be available with our picks and would fit RJ and Randle perfectly, but I’d rather stay put if we’re using assets to get a Beal or Lavine level player. If no such trade materializes, just stay put, use the picks well, re-sign Randle and Noel, maybe Burks and Bullock, and then we’ll see next season.

    The Knicks entered the season looking like they were ages away from the playoffs even, but I’m confident that most of the key improvements are for real and at least relatively sustainable.

  58. #i’m sorry did you participate in any of the analysis previously or you just handwaving things now that things are safe from the bunker and now see it appropriate to lob names?#

    I participate mostly when things are not yet revealed trying avoiding Victory laps afterwards.

  59. What a privilege to watch Steph Curry, another insane performance, 10 3s made again. He’ll carry this garbage team to a play in spot and I’m pretty sure every other team there is terrified.

  60. Correct me if i’m wrong but i remember “team pessimism” being far more active on this blog before this season,

    I can only speak for myself, but I remain extremely uncomfortable with Derek Rose. I am back to watching games tho, and I don’t love that about me. Team is solid tho. Win curve, keep Randle and the trio at center, try like hell to upgrade in the draft to Cade. Sell the extra picks, sell our own picks. This is a. 500 team. We need a savvy youth punch to get above that, then we can add vets. Chasing existing guys is an expensive suckers game, but we’re definitely at the point where trading in the future for a future is a good idea. If we can’t do that, well, see what else shakes out but don’t do anything desperate that locks us out if it fails.

  61. Re how to build from here and the win curve… like I said earlier in the season, the position were in feels analogous to an NFL team who has found a clear starting QB on the rookie scale. We have realistically until free agency next summer to build our team before a major asset – cap space – starts to disappear. so we probably want to add at least one significant piece in that timeframe. After that it’s the draft and trades plus internal development to keep progressing.

    We seem to have three starters locked up – very good 2nd/3rd options who can create a bit with the ball in hand and a good, affordable defensive anchor in the middle. We have a good defence. But we struggle on Offense in both the half court and transition and could use more three point volume.

    So we need a PG and a wing who between them address these issues and move us on a couple of levels. In that context the debate about Ball is really interesting. He’d help D, transition offense and shooting, but probably not massively in terms of halfcourt unless he has a lot more than he’s showing in that area. That makes me feel like if we sign him for 20-25m, we’re left really trying to thread the needle on the wing, where we’d need to acquire or develop a real 2-way star in the Kawhi/Butler mould – someone who can be your lead offensive threat in the half court and your closer, and who can also create for others. Beal and Lavine look like the wings who might become available and are closest to that description, and neither is on that level. Boston isn’t giving up Tatum or Brown any time soon. Who else is the right age and the right player profile?

    Makes me think that we need to find a better fit at PG than Ball (who in the abstract I really like), because finding a wing in that level or who can get there in the next few years feels very hard.

  62. It’s why I’m so gutted we’re not in the mix for Cade and I’d give up a lot to move up to get him. He’s big and versatile enough that alongside Randle and RJ, your options for a guard/wing to play with him are way easier. Could be a Ball/Holliday type who is a nominal PG who plays off the ball alongside Cade and can defend and take secondary handling duties. Or could be a high-level 3&D wing. But it leaves so much more flex in terms of roster and lineup development.

  63. Randle has shown he can be the 2nd best player in a very good team, and if Barrett keeps progressing in this path he’s pretty much a very good 3rd option. We still need the hardest part, which is finding at least one more top level player to be the other guy.

    Bruno (and all) I’m curious why the board does not believe these guys can evolve into our #1 and #2 options — even if we draft/develop a more consistent threat from three.

    For Randle and RJ, what in their games will keep them from reaching top tier?

  64. KB Apprentice: Bruno (and all) I’m curious why the board does not believe these guys can evolve into our #1 and #2 options — even if we draft/develop a more consistent threat from three.

    For Randle and RJ, what in their games will keep them from reaching top tier?

    I’ll hazard a guess:

    1) Randle is 26. He’s probably not adding too much more to his repertoire. Some people will say he’s just getting started, look how much he added in 1 offseason!! But pessimists, right or wrong, will point to his career averages & the outlier season he’s having from 3 to say this is probably his best year. He’s unlikely to shoot 41% from 3 ever again & if he doesn’t that TS% goes down faster than Wylie Coyote tied to an acme anvil.

    2) RJ looks amazing this year for a sophomore. But his efficiency needs to climb much higher & so does his usage to get to the #1 scorer level. Not everyone predicted RJ to be a superstar & you shouldn’t necessarily change that view based on a good or bad season. Ingram made the improvement, so might RJ. But it’s much easier getting to the #2 or #3 talent spots and it’s not clear if RJ has the extra ‘it’ to get to Lebron’s level for instance. That’s not even a knock on RJ, but there’s only so many generational talents you can have in a generation.

  65. Early Bird — Thx much.

    So if we agree with that assessment, then Kyrie’s skill set (by type) seems to be the missing piece (or do folks disagree). In our offense now, I suspect Thibs is trying in vain to wring that exact skillset from Elf and Rose, kind of as a placeholder for the right guy to come. He’s using Super-Burks the same way in the 4th.

    From elsewhere — Ball and Beal have been discussed, but I don’t see those guys as meshing well (each for different reasons).

    From home — Can Burks improve/keep going? Is there no chance IQ becomes that guy? His handle seems to suck, but …

    From the draft — Do we still go for “best player available” or do we really try hard to land “that skill set” thanks to a combination of trades?

  66. you do not want to picnic on the safe side of the knickerblogger pendulum. this year has been fantastic and, yea, we’re in a far better position than we’ve seen in a long time. but it’s pretty tricky. randle has been a max player this year, but i don’t like his chances of providing max value over his next contract. he’s shooting 83pct of his shots away from the rim and he’s over 42pct from 10 feet or more. that’s kd’s career average. maybe he stays there. or maybe he reverts just a bit and makes up for it other ways. he’s still good either way. but i think he’s a difficult max starting point if your hope is to end up with a contender. can he keep up his giant leap out of the defensive cellar (at least in one on one and in perimeter switch situations)? i’m not saying he can’t. but it’s not a gimme. some people finish an ironman and then collapse on the couch for a decade as if they’d pulled forward all their willpower points. randle is also a bit of a team building constraint as a max in that he probably only maxes out his value playing with a good rim protector and without a ball dominant offensive player. i guess you could argue against the latter.

    i have no idea how good rj is going to be. if he really turned into jimmy butler that would moot everything else. but i kinda suspect he won’t reach that tier. it’s still great to have a 20 yr old like rj, a beast like randle, an interesting rookie like iq and an elite tryhard defense. but we’ve also had a disappointing start from an older lottery pick and a mixed y3 from mitch.

    recently it’s been pretty easy to run the knicks: do almost anything except the sort of shit we did. now it’s far from easy. there are multiple palatable options,
    but there is also a trap where you are capped out with a randle beal rj type team that is never a good bet to contend. i think we went from years of d- future prospects to, say, a solid b.

  67. randle is also a bit of a team building constraint as a max in that he probably only maxes out his value playing with a good rim protector and without a ball dominant offensive player. i guess you could argue against the latter.

    Right. As you say, “without a ball dominant offensive player.” Right now we have two offenses: Point-Randle and Point-Guard. When Randle is hitting, Point-Guard offense (Elf or Rose) needs only to function for about ten minutes. When Randle is off, we all shout at the TV and wish we had a solid PG who could finish. In a way, I think we’ve been giving other teams some trouble (eye test) exactly because we have two distinct playing styles.

    So. Can Randle maintain this level? Who knows? Probably not. And I totally get your point about an Iron Man collapse, which dovetails exactly with all of our worries about his minutes (and RJ’s minutes!). But — if Randle can keep near this production, and RJ is #2, then we need a totally different skill set for guy #3, right? Someone who just knocks down threes automatically and doesn’t need the ball (someone like Novak, Kerr, Korver). I think Thibs is trying to simulate that particular idea with Bullock. Super-Burks also confuses the opposition well, because he does a little of both (catch/shoot and handle/finish).

  68. Good morning. Getting psyched for the game today. Glad to see that I’m not alone.

    The way that they’re playing, Randle and RJ are #1 and #2 options.

    Randle should get locked down by the Knicks as soon as it should happen. We need to start accepting that Randle is getting a max deal. It doesn’t matter where he actually ranks amongst NBA players. When Reggie Miller proposed that he should be considered for all-NBA, it started the push in that direction.

    RJ has become a stud. He’s bigger and stronger. He fixed his shooting and he’t impossible to stop when driving to the hoop. His defense is improving every day. Most important is he’s shown the ability to improve.

    (Season) Pts/Reb/Ast – FG%/3pt%/FT%
    (2019-20) 14.3/5.0/2.6 – 40.2/32.0/61.4
    (2020-21) 17.3/5.7/3.0 – 44.8/38.1/73.4

    Time to get greedy. Keep the streak going!!!

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