Annoying questions surround Julius Randle after the playoffs

NBA

May 14, 2023 | 4:04 a.m

Miami – There were some powerful moments, not enough of them, from Julius Randle.

There were more bad, eyebrow-raising moments, and old questions bound to be raised as the Knicks look to take the next step after winning the playoff series for the first time in a decade.

Granted, Randle’s return to the postseason was an experience, which ended on a sour note Friday night in a series-ending loss to the Heat in which he had as many turnovers, three, as shots.

The playoffs began with uncertainty about Randle’s health, and his sprained left ankle was a story for much of the postseason.

The playoffs ended with similar questions about Randle’s casual indifference to the defense and inconsistent play.

Needing a representative effort from him in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Heat, the Knicks’ 3-for-14 and 15-point display couldn’t come close to it in a heartbreaking loss.

Jalen Bronson, who scored 41 points and was heroic in defeat, is stranded on an island.

Julius Randle, who was fighting for a rebound in the Knicks’ Game 6 loss to the Heat, had an uneven and inconsistent playoff.
Corey Sipkin for the New York Post

“Obviously disappointed,” Randall said afterwards. “More is required. More is expected.

His performance this season isn’t quite as bad as it was two years ago, when Randle’s struggles were the story of the Knicks’ five-game loss to the Hawks in the first round of the playoffs.

This time around, he was surrounded by better talent, particularly Bronson’s elite point guard.

Randle helped the Knicks to an opening-round win over the Cavaliers, while refusing to use his ankle injury as an excuse for any inadequacy.

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On that ill-fitting left ankle, he had a Powerful Game 1 against the Cavaliers, 19 points, 10 rebounds, four assists punctuated by a huge offensive rebound in the closing seconds.

He injured his ankle during Game 5 against Cleveland, and missed Game 1 against the Heat as a result.

The Conference Semifinals might have gone differently had he been available for Game 1, which the Knicks lost at home.

Randle’s entire action this postseason left a lot to be desired.

He averaged 16.6 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists and shot just 37.4 percent from the field. His turnover of 3.5 was an issue.

In five games against the Heat, Randle had 21 assists and 20 turnovers, a low percentage.

Julius Randle looks to make a move on Jimmy Butler during the Knicks’ Game 6 loss in the season finale.
Corey Sipkin for the New York Post

Earlier, head coach Tom Thibodeau suspended him in the fourth quarter of Game 4 against the Cavaliers after a poor third quarter.

After the Knicks fell into a 3-1 hole against the Heat, Randle drew unwanted headlines for saying, “They probably want it more.” In typical Randle fashion, though, he responded with a solid 5 game — 24 points, five rebounds and five assists — as the Knicks kept their season alive.

“Same as the season,” Randle, 28, said when asked for his postseason evaluation. “Some good moments, some moments to learn from. You just have to take stock, move forward and see what you can do as an individual to help the team move forward.”

This wasn’t the same kind of accountability that RJ Barrett showed during an emotional press conference calling his Game 6 performance “terrible.”

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Or Bronson’s repeated and unwarranted criticism of himself after losses.

It should be noted that Randle continues to be a lightning rod among the fan base.

After a viewing party in the park, fans were filmed tearing up and stomping on Randle’s poster.

An image of fans writing “Trade Me” appeared on another Randall poster.

However, it shouldn’t be forgotten that overall, it’s been a solid season for Randle, who has made a great rebound after a dismal 2021-22.

He reached the All-Star Game for the second time and was named to the All-NBA Third Team.

He averaged a career best 25.1 points and was effective in doing so, shooting up to 46 percent from the field.

He was a major factor in the Knicks’ surprisingly 47-35 season.

“Julius is still young – he’s in his prime now,” said Thibodeau. “So we’re looking forward to what’s next.”




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