RJ Barrett, Knicks teammates frustrated by Julius Randle’s bad habit
Some players within the New York Knicks, including rookie RJ Barrett, have been frustrated by Julius Randle’s penchant for over-dribbling and lack of ball movement, something that has proved to be a season-round trend, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post.
Randle turned the ball over a lot less over the last two months of this halted 2019-20 season and became less clumsy on his drives to the basket. Yet his on-court chemistry with the rookie, who is used to having the ball in his hands, could be a thing to watch out for next season.
Barrett has managed to keep about this annoyance, but he’s not the only one who finds himself frustrated by Randle holding onto the ball once he receives it.
“A lot of players felt like that with the exception of Elfrid Payton,’’ a source told Berman.
Randle has managed to get his numbers up to par after a very slow start to the season that saw Marcus Morris take over as the Knicks’ top gun, but that hasn’t done much for his apparent tunnel vision.
“Julius got paid to be the leader of the franchise, but Morris played like the leader of the franchise,’’ the same source said. “[Former head coach David Fizdale] anointed Mo the leader early on. Maybe that fueled Julius to play like he did.’’
After Morris was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers, Randle assumed the first-option role.
“You can’t argue with his productivity,’’ said an Eastern Conference personnel man. “But he was in the wrong role. He absolutely should not be your No. 1 or even No. 2 option, maybe not even No. 3 on a serious contender. He doesn’t have a good enough feel, [and is] much too ball-dominant. I don’t trust his decisions with the ball. As sixth man, he would fit perfectly because I don’t think he gives you much defensively either. That’s more in line with a sixth-man role.”
If the rest of the NBA season is canceled, Randle ended his 2019-20 campaign on a good note, pouring in 33 points in a wild win over the Atlanta Hawks, his eighth 30-point outing of the season. Yet he will have to answer to his ball-hawking tendencies sooner or later if the Knicks get a new coach in the offseason.