After rare playoff appearance, Randall, Knicks step back

NEW YORK (AP) — Julius Randall wasn’t that good. The New York Knicks weren’t nearly as good.

A rare playoff appearance in 2021 was followed by familiar clashes in New York, where the Knicks went 37-45 in a second season with Tom Thibodeau as coach. They do not deny despair but insist that things are not so bad.

“We fell short of our goals and so we were inspired to go back to work,” Thibodeau said.

The Knicks went 41–31 last season, finishing fourth in the Eastern Conference. Thibodeau was named Coach of the Year and Randall was named Most Improved Player. He extended a new contract in the off-season, adding Kemba Walker and Ivan Fournier and hoping to make an even better return.

Instead, they dropped all the way east to 11th.

“I think the one thing with a team that has talent and hasn’t made it to the playoffs like ours is that we didn’t find ourselves,” Fournier said. “We never really found a rhythm and a way to do it consistently every night.”

Randall still averaged 20.1 points, 9.9 rebounds and 5.1 assists, but his 3-point accuracy was very low (about 41% to 31%) and his frustration was on the upswing – from referees, opponents and even fans. with. He has such a huge role in the team that the Knicks couldn’t take him away from being a little worse than he was a season ago.

But RJ Barrett jumped well in his third season, and Obie Toppin and Emmanuel Quickley did well in their second season. The Knicks hope to move on to next season after recovering from the disappointment of this one.

“We wanted to be in the playoffs, we wanted to make a move, but I think since the All-Star break, the team has shown some momentum and shown some good signs,” Knicks president Leon Rose said in an interview. Said team broadcaster MSG Network.

Things to know as the Knicks head in the off season:

decisions decisions

Starting center Mitchell Robinson, who continues to improve but cannot shake injuries, will be an unrestricted free agent. Barrett is eligible for an extension on his rookie contract and made a good case for earning it after averaging 20 points.

point still not found

The Knicks couldn’t solve their perennial problems at point guard. Walker’s homecoming did not work out and he was not even with the team at the end of the season. Derrick Rose was restricted to just 26 games with an ankle problem. The Knicks may have to decide if they think Quickly is a long-term solution or if they need to look elsewhere.

better together?

Toppin’s development was slowed by playing in the same position as Randall, who plays heavy minutes. Toppin scored 35 and a career-best 42 in the final two games of the season, but was playing without Randall. The Knicks need to determine if the two can flourish while playing together.

lots of likes

Rose said the Knicks have 13 picks in the next three drafts, including four in the first round. They can help add to your youth core, or perhaps be used to help someone experienced in a trade.

keep the kids?

Late in the season Thibodeau’s rotation was filled with players aged 24 and under, including three rookies. Even Randall is only 27. Perhaps the core will continue to improve. But even over time they may never be enough to hold onto an Eastern Conference where four teams have won 50 games, so Rose has to weigh whether the Knicks simply need more time, or more talent.

“I love the guys, but so is the NBA,” Thibodeau said. “Like, there’s constant change and whether it’s free agency, draft, whatever, you have to be open to what you have. And once you have a team, you love people. But I like the way these guys work. So I think that’s a big turnaround for us.”

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