New York Knicks: Shot selection has unlocked the best version of Julius Randle

New York Knicks Julius Randle. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
New York Knicks Julius Randle. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
1 of 4
New York Knicks
New York Knicks Julius Randle (Adam Hunger/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports) /

How Julius Randle went from a solid starter to an All-Star and the best player on a playoff-bound New York Knicks team.

We can probably just go ahead and give Julius Randle the Most Improved Player award right now, it’s over. The New York Knicks are currently sitting in the 6th seed with a 31-27 record and a big portion of the credit has to go to Julius Randle’s All-Star leap this season.

Randle has posted a career-high in points per game (23.6) this year, but the most interesting part is how he’s getting those points. Traditionally a player who takes a majority of his shots at or near the rim, Randle has completely flipped the script on his own scouting report.

This year is the first of Randle’s career where he’s taken more mid-range jumpers than shots in the restricted area or in the paint (non-restricted area). In fact, to take it a step further (literally), he has nearly as many above the break 3’s attempted (223) as he does shots in the restricted area (228). And non-restricted area paint shot attempts (218) are only his fourth-most common shot this season. To my knowledge, it’s an unprecedented change in shot selection, especially for someone who has shown no signs of being capable of this until now.

Outside of his scoring, Randle has also proven himself as a really good passer, and I don’t think those two things are unrelated. I’ve always thought Randle was a solid passer, but this perimeter-based double-team-inducing version of him has put those passing skills on display in a way that we haven’t seen from him before.

So he has career highs in points and assists and is taking more jumpers. You could get that analysis from a Basketball-Reference page. But let’s crack open some film and see if we can figure out just how impactful Randle’s shot selection has been on both his individual and the team’s success this year.