Explaining Knicks’ regression in 2 years under Tom Thebodo for failing New York

“Run It Back” has become a popular gathering for the recent Super Bowl champions at the Los Angeles Rams (2021) and Kansas City Chiefs (2019), two teams who have announced that they want to bring back the same team that brought their success. In the NBA, the New York Knicks have not uttered that phrase outwardly in this past offseason, but verbs speak louder than words. The Knicks have brought back nine of their top 12 players per game per minute from their 2020-21 rotation. Their goal is to achieve a continuous play-off appearance for the first time in almost a decade (three direct play-off appearances from the 2010-11 season to the 2012-2013 season). Who doesn’t want to hold the foundation of a team that has won 16 games in their final 20 regular-seasons?

Point forward Julius Randall, the reigning Most Improved Player of the Year award and first-time All-Star, signed a four-year, $ 117 million contract last offseason, with sixth man of the year finalist Derrick Rose (three years, $ 43 million), Centurion Noel ( Three years, 32 million) and Alec Barks (three years, $ 30 million). The team has added guard Evan Fournier, who started a 4-year career-high 41.3 percent shooting from the 3-point line, on a 4-year contract worth $ 78 million and a two-year, $ 17.9 million contract on the Bronx native Kemba Walker.

All of these moves have led to the Knicks’ almost repetitive performance as a top defensive team. New York had the best defense of the NBA last season, earning their head coach Coach of the Year honor in his first season at Madison Square Garden. Tom Thibodeau’s team has been proud of the top 10 scoring defenses in seven of his 10 seasons as NBA head coach.

Knicks Defense from 2020

Opponent PPG

104.7 (1st)

107.0 (8th)

Opponent FG%

44.0% (1st)

44.8% (5th)

Opponent 3FG%

33.7% (1st)

34.3% (T-7th)

Opponent paint PPG

43.8 (4th)

43.6 (4th)

Opponent Fastbreak PPG

10.5 (2nd)

11.4 (T-6th)

Offensively, the team’s numbers are similar except for their 3-point shooting because their top two shot-makers, Randall and Rose, are unable to replicate their breakout season.

Knicks crime since 2020

PPG

107.0 (26th)

106.4 (27th)

FG%

45.6% (21st)

43.7% (27th)

3FG%

39.2% (3rd)

35.8% (12th)

Paint PPG

44.0 (26th)

41.5 (End)

Randall regression

Randle averaged 24.1 points, 10.2 rebounds and 6.0 assists, his second season with the Knicks, the most minutes played in the NBA last season (37.6 MPG). These matched his career-high in both points and assists in his career highs and random rebounds. He is ranked in the top 20 of the NBA in all three categories.

Randle’s 2020-21 season total has made him the sixth player in NBA history to average at least 24.0 points, 10.2 rebounds and 6.0 assists in one season, with Nikola Djokic (who is doing it again this season), Russell Westbrook, Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlain and Oscar Roker. . Randle also drove a career-high 160 3-pointer in 2020-21, eight less than that Total From the first five seasons of his career (168). He shot 41.1 percent from the 3-point line, 6.7 percentage points higher than his career-best 34.4 percent in the 2018-19 season. Randle also hit career-high 81.1 percent shots from the free-throw line after never shooting more than 76 percent.

“All my teammates, everyone, they believe in me and they make me strong,” Knicks forward Julius Randall said after winning the 2020-21 Player of the Year award. “I want to thank them for their leadership. Then my family, my wife, my son, everyone. Everyone has played a role in helping me become my best version on and off the court. ”

Randle has joined the exclusive company with a few others who have averaged 24-plus points, 10-plus rebounds, six-plus assists in a single season:

  • 2021-22 Nikola Jokic
  • 2020-21 Julius Randall
  • 2020-21 Nikola Jokic *
  • 2017-18 Russell Westbrook
  • 2016-17 Russell Westbrook *
  • 1984-85 Larry Bird *
  • 1983-84 Larry Bird *
  • 1967-68 Wilt Chamberlain *
  • 1966-67 Wilt Chamberlain *
  • 1962-63 Oscar Robertson
  • 1961-62 Oscar Robertson
  • 1960-61 Oscar Robertson

* NBA MVP wins

This season, Randall remains the Knicks’ top alternative, leading the Knicks to points (20.1), rebounds (9.9) and assists (5.1). His 3-point shooting (30.8 percent) and free-throw shooting (75.6 percent) have come close to his career average (33.2 percent in 3-pointers and 74.3 percent in free throws).

Randle mentions being empowered by his teammates as his career year draws to a close last season and why he and the Knicks ’offense have taken a step back this season is the absence of their No. 2 playmaker (4.0 APG, second on the team), Derrick Rose. Rose led the Knicks to the playoffs a year ago, their team-high 19.3 points per game at a five-game, Hawks vs. first-round series rate. Randall credits Rose with helping him become a better leader in December.

“I talked to Doric for a long time [Rose] Because I’m an introvert too, “Randall said in December. “I am [the type to] Lead by example, my activities and things like that, and he tells me how long it took him to figure it out. “

Randall has shot the ball well this season while playing Rose, but the problem is the former NBA MVP has not played since December 16 due to an ankle injury. Following surgery on 25 February, Rose will probably not play again this season after 26 suits.

Julius Randall with and without Derrick Rose this season:

FG%

43.1%

40.7%

3FG%

36.4%

29.4%

Attempts to use Kemba Walker, Alec Burks or Evan Fournier as the primary ball-handlers did not ignite the offense, and Randall’s frustration began to show. Despite beating the Knicks Bulls 109-104 on Monday, Randle apparently threw the basketball in frustration and quickly walked off the court after securing the final rebound.

The frustration is understandable because Monday was arguably his worst game of the season. Randle scored 5 points (percentage of T-worst field goals in a game this season) (27th 50 minutes in a game this season, T-third-lowest in a game) (4th-lowest minutes in a game this season). ) Has returned to action after missing the previous three due to injury in his second game.

“I’ve missed five games in three years – two of them were my grandmother’s death and two were covid,” Randall said Sunday. “When it comes to the actual injury, I missed one match in three years. It lets you know I would rather play through the pain, but for that, I had to force myself to sit down and take time to heal myself. “

Barrett Building Momentum

A bright spot for Randle and Co. this season is the game of RJ Barrett, who at the age of 21 is earning a career-high 20.1 points per game. He is the only player in the history of the Knicks to have scored at least 20 points per game at the age of 21 or under. Barrett has scored 25 or more points in four of his last six games, including a team-high 28 in Monday’s win over the Bulls. His productions have helped New York win four of their last five games.

“First, we fight, so [giving up] Not an option for us, “Barrett said after the Knicks’ victory over the Bulls on Monday. “It simply came to our notice then. We are a very good team and we are disappointed with the way we started the season, but we are a very good team and we are picking up these wins. We’re scratching and nailing and playing very well. So when you have something like that, you try to make it. “

Although his rise was not enough to bring the Knicks back the following season, Barrett gave the Knicks a budding co-star for Randle or a new solo performance to move forward.

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