The numbers are dropping and so is Julius Randle’s mojo for the moment.
After a second loss against the rebuilding Magic Wednesday night, Randle sincerely admitted he was inferior and defined the team’s flow as “weird there.”
Randle isn’t the only reason the Knicks initial lineup struggled, but he’s the head of the snake and that head is sick.
In the latest Orlando fiasco, Randle scored just 13 points. When he returned to action with four minutes remaining, he did not convene a firing test. Something is not right for the second-team All-NBA player from last season.
“It wasn’t great,” Randle said of his game this season. “Like I said, a lot of these things are rhythm, trying to find each other. I think that was exactly how the season went. There were good days and there were no great days. That’s almost who we are now. We are not yet a consistent team, a consistent basketball team, but we will get there. “
Randle averages 19.8 points on 41.2 percent overall – 35.1 percent from 3. All three of those figures are significantly down from last season’s scores of 24.1 points, 45.6 percent from the field and 41.1 percent beyond the arc.
In turn, the Knicks have gone 3-6 since their 5-1 start. The schedule was not rough.
Wednesday’s second home loss against Orlando in three weeks remains a hoax. The Knicks were outscored along the stretch.
A point ahead last season, Randle has to share with a ball-dominating point guard at Kemba Walker, who is also struggling with a team-worst minus-107.
In recent games, Randle has looked more lethargic than ever during last season’s rolling drive. Meanwhile, his backup Obi Toppin is coming. Toppin was plus-11 against Orlando, Randle minus-21.
A left-handed freight train that looked unstoppable last season, Randle made 11 shots – 10 from a 3-point range. He was 4 out of 10 from 3 and missed his only shot inside the arc.
“Those are the shots I felt like there,” Randle said. “I’m not trying to force it or whatever it is. Here are the shots I felt I was there tonight. “
It is unclear whether this was a shooting boycott in response to criticism that he is doing too much retirement into traffic or just a lack of confidence.
Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau seemed to support Randle, saying the Magic played a lot of belt and denied Randle’s ability to take it to the bucket.
“The game tells you what to shoot, and they played a lot of zone,” Thibodeau said. “I’ll watch the movie again. I thought a lot of them are wide open 3s. I trust him. If he’s open, I want him to shoot. So, he won’t be perfect. “
Randle, who signed a long-term contract extension in August for $ 117 million, knows things need to adjust. Nothing would be more humiliating than losing against the 1-14 Rockets on Saturday to end their three-game home run. The Knicks, who are tied for seventh place with the 76ers, face the reviving Bulls in Chicago the following night.
As much as Randle has been talking in recent days about a lack of chemistry compared to last season, he doesn’t think there’s a lack of camaraderie – a hallmark of the 41-31 squad that broke a seven-season finale drought.
“It’s hard,” Randle said. “But we have a great group of guys, they’re all together. Everyone likes each other. We go in, we work hard, we just have to keep figuring it out. Keep our hearts in the right places. It’s a long season. Fifteen games, I know it feels like the end of the world here in New York City, but it’s 15 games.
“I think it starts with looking at yourself. Everyone looking in the mirror, see if you give everything you have to the team, to the game. “