Julius Randle has had a slow start to the season, which may be linked to his sluggish performance at the beginning of games.
Last season, Randle dominated the first quarter, ranking fourth in the NBA for first quarter scoring with an average of 9.1 points per game. He also showcased impressive shooting percentages from the field (47.1 percent) and beyond the arc (38.8 percent), setting a franchise scoring record with 703 first quarter points. However, this season, Randle’s performance in the opening frame has seen a significant decline, as he is now averaging 6.6 points, shooting 38.7 percent from the field, and 32.5 percent from three-point range.
Despite his slow start, Randle has shown signs of improvement in recent games, putting up strong first quarter performances in the last two weeks, including an 11-point game against the Charlotte Hornets and nine-point games against the Detroit Pistons and Toronto Raptors.
The turnaround is attributed to a more deliberate effort to involve Randle in prime scoring opportunities early in the game, resulting in a sharper and more effective performance. However, the increase in Randle’s first quarter scoring has coincided with a decrease in the performance of New York’s point guard, Jalen Brunson, who has excelled during Randle’s slow starts.
3-point Shooting Concerns
Randle, who was aiming to improve his efficiency coming into the season, has struggled especially from beyond the arc, with a 27.9 percent shooting percentage on 3-point attempts, down from 34.3 percent last season. As a result, Randle has shifted his focus to scoring inside the paint, with nearly half of his total points coming from points in the paint.
While Randle’s 3-point shooting has declined, his impact in the paint has increased, drawing attention from the defense and creating opportunities for his teammates. Despite Randle’s struggles, the rest of the Knicks have picked up the slack from long distance, placing the team at seventh in the league for 3-point percentage.
Although Randle’s inconsistency from three is a concern, his aggressive and decisive play remains vital for the Knicks’ success.
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