Thibodeau says Knicks likely to shut down Julius Randle for rest of season

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It’s been a disappointing season for Julius Randle, and it’s about to come to an end.

Randle has been battling a sore quadricep of late and missed the Knicks game against the Cavaliers. With the Knicks having nothing left to play for — they have been eliminated from reaching even the play-in — coach Tom Thibodeau said they are likely shutting Randle down for the season. Via Fred Katz of The Athletic.

Randle took a huge step back from winning Most Improved Player and being named All-NBA as he was a season ago. His offensive efficiency fell off a cliff. He shot 41.1% on 3-pointers a season ago, this year that fell to 30.8% this season (on almost the same number of attempts per game, 0.8 fewer). This true shooting percentage was above the league average last year at .567 but fell way below that mark to .508 this season. His go-to stepback jumper wasn’t falling this season, which allowed defenders to come up and crowd him, taking away drives to the rim. His estimated plus/minus went from +3.2 last season, in the 94th percentile of the league, to -0.3 and the 64th percentile (using Dunks and Threes figures). Randle’s defensive effort lagged.

Randle struggled and Knicks fans let him know it, and he responded by giving them a thumbs-down gesture and postgame told them to “shut the f*** up” (he later apologized for all that).

Randle went from being an All-NBA player to a slightly above average one in one season, and that drop off was at the heart of the Knicks’ troubles this season.

Or, put another way, this went from being Randle’s team last season to RJ Barrett‘s team this season. All of that led to speculation that Randle wants a trade, although he has denied that.

Finding ways to get Randle back to the All-Star or All-NBA level has to be a priority for Thibodeau as he plans for next season. However, a lot of that falls on Randle himself.