No team has underwhelmed more this season than the New York Knicks, and a lot of that stems from their leader and top player, reigning Most Improved Player and All-Star forward Julius Randle.
In his third season with the club, he’s averaging 19.8 points, 10.0 rebounds, 5.2 rebounds, and a career-worst 3.5 turnovers while shooting a putrid 42/30/76 line.
Randle’s future with the Knicks has come into question at multiple intervals this season, including prior to the trade deadline, where he was floated in rumors as a target for the Sacramento Kings.
But his latest actions, ones that earned him an ejection from New York’s latest loss–have people around the NBA questioning his mental and physical wellness.
It’s been that kind of season for the New York Knicks, who now sit 13 games below .500 and firmly out of the Eastern Conference playoff bracket with 19 games to go.
Randle’s ‘Overall Psyche’ a Concern
In his latest reporting for the New York Post, Marc Berman relayed the concerned sentiments surrounding Julius Randle:
Randle’s overall psyche is of concern inside the Knicks organization, according to an NBA source.
But it goes further than that–with his physical fitness at the start of training camp also in question:
The source said Randle didn’t come into training camp in the same type of sensational shape as he did last season, before Thibodeau’s first year guiding the Knicks. Perhaps that prevented him from being the type of two-way player — giving energy on both sides of the ball — that he was during his second team All-NBA season.
Randle’s drop-off this season is increasingly hard to explain unless you’re simply going to chalk up his 20202-2021 campaign as a one-hit-wonder.
But his body language alone seems a controllable development.
Randle’s been at war with the fans, the coaching staff, and the league’s officials since the start of this season.
He’s gone from giving the fans of Madison Square Garden a thumbs down in response to boos, to publicly criticizing referees, to avoiding the media.
It’s been that kind of season for Julius Randle and the New York Knicks.
And it could result in the firing of head coach Tom Thibodeau.
Knicks Fans are Calling for Coaching Change
Just one year removed from a storied season where he lead the New York Knicks back to the playoffs for the first time since 2013, Tom Thibodeau is on the hot seat.
There’s speculation mounting that he could be let go before the season’s finish, and with only 19 games to go, that’d certainly be quite the accomplishment.
That sentiment’s certainly endorsed by Knicks fans, who’ve interpreted this latest Instagram story from Immanuel Quickley as a sign of change to come:
Next to the New York guard is assistant coach Johnnie Bryant, who would presumably be the next man up in any instance where Tom Thibodeau is given the boot.
He’s certainly the fan-favorite for if that was to ever play into the Knicks’ decision.
That much is apparent based on the responses to Immanuel Quickley’s story.
Fan @SOUL_GIFTED on Twitter went as far as making the assumption that he’ll replace Thibodeau in any circumstance:
As did so many, many more:
While other fans like @KnickWitAtitude took the opportunity to make note of Bryant’s presence on the sideline during timeouts, as displayed in Quickley’s post:
Ironically, it’s Julius Randle that’s been most vocal in defending the New York Knicks head coach.
But given his standing with the franchise, it’s hard to see that meaning much for Tom Thibodeau’s job security.
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