Knicks star Julius Randle breaks down horrible playoffs vs. Hawks
As great as the 2020-21 New York Knicks were for erasing some of the many demons of the past surrounding the team, the last memory fans were left with was that of the team being throttled by the Atlanta Hawks on the way to a 4-1 defeat in the first round.
One of the main reasons for those struggles was the biggest reason the Knicks were even in the playoffs as the No. 4 seed: Julius Randle. The big man stumbled his way to 18 points per game on .298/.333/.852 shooting splits in the playoffs after having an All-NBA second team-caliber regular season.
During the Knicks’ Media Day, Randle spoke out about his struggles last postseason, and it seems as if he got things figured out heading into the 2021-22 campaign:
Julius Randle reflects on the series against the Hawks:
"It was a fairly simple series. I overcomplicated it." pic.twitter.com/MImrzpq0Wj
— Knicks Videos (@sny_knicks) September 27, 2021
Easy enough! Julius Randle did elaborate a little further when asked about last playoffs later on, however.
“I could have made the game more simple,” the Knicks star added, Per Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. “Part of that was me being me, putting a lot on my shoulders. Not making the moment bigger than what it was but just me wanting to be great in that moment. So I just feel like it was overcomplicated but I’m excited to get back there this season.”
The Knicks certainly did their best to surround Randle with the tools for him to succeed and have better luck in the postseason this year, adding Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier to the team while retaining Derrick Rose, Alec Burks and Nerlens Noel from a year ago. Couple that with the return of fourth-year center Mitchell Robinson (who Randle already acknowledged is looking “brolic”) and another leap from RJ Barrett in his third season, and Randle might not have to think about much at all when it comes to the Hawks.
Then again, Randle could always just try to channel his regular-season self against the Hawks from last year, too: he averaged 37.33 points per game on 72% shooting against Atlanta in three regular season games. Either way, the Knicks’ Christmas Day showdown with the Hawks at Madison Square Garden is already looming.