The New York Knicks need changes


Jean-Baptiste Bellete | Wikimedia Commons

Vasileios Michaelides

The New York Knicks are in the midst of a disappointing and underwhelming season, having fallen victim to their own success.

After a 5-1 start, the Knicks have been teetering around the .500 mark and have found a home in the 11th seed in the National Basketball Association Eastern Conference.

Something is going wrong for the Knicks, anyone with minimal knowledge of basketball can see it, which is why the Knicks faithful are in a frenzy since current Coach of the Year Tom Thibodeau is continuing with rotations and gameplans that do not work. How many times have we seen Obi Toppin come in and score eight points on great efficiency, raising the energy in a matter of minutes, only to be switched out immediately for an anemic Julius Randle? How many times have we seen Evan Fournier try to close out a competitive game after only having made one or two shots the entire game?

Thibodeau is part of the problem and winning Coach Of the Year after leading the Knicks to the fourth seed last season does not make him exempt. He is beyond stubborn and that is only hurting the team. And let’s not even get started on the Cam Reddish situation. Thibodeau, your organization trades for a promising young player for you to just let him sit on the bench? For who? Alec Burks? Fournier? Who? A trade has to be on the way; it’s the only explanation.

The current starting five, according to The Athletic’s Mike Vorkunov, has the worst point differential in the whole league at -114 in 364 minutes, which is absolutely wild. It has been a historically bad season for the starting five aside from RJ Barrett, who has recently blossomed into the team’s best player and Mitchell Robinson, who can usually be counted on to play with heart and desire while crashing the boards.

There have recently been reports that the Knicks are exploring trades for many of their veterans like Evan Fournier, Kemba Walker and Alec Burks. Moves like this are absolutely necessary. It’s clear that the current roster does not work. Maybe the solution is not trading away Kemba or Fournier but a little further up the ranks. Maybe the one who should be held accountable by Thibodeau is the reigning Most Improved Player, Randle.

Randle has regressed tremendously. He looks nothing like the All-NBA player who led the team to home-court advantage in the playoffs last season. I truly cannot remember the last time I saw this kind of drop-off from one season to the next. To see this regression you’ll have to look beyond the numbers because the counting stats are not open if you take out the efficiency. You’ll have to look at his effort, body language and lack of leadership.

Most recently the Knicks are hiding him from the media, letting a 21-year old RJ Barrett take the heat of the media and the people. It just seems that we have reached the point where we can say with near certainty that Randle is not that guy and that he cannot be that guy in New York because he simply cannot blossom here, as there is something evidently off with him mentally.

He is inside his head and that is something that the Knicks cannot deal with.

The trade deadline is on  Feb. 10 and there have been reports that Randle is available.  There are a few teams interested in the reigning Most Improved Player. Perhaps a trade is best for both sides. We’ll just have to wait and see.