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) /
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New York Knicks
New York Knicks Julius Randle (Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports) /

Julius Randle’s improvement from deep

Changing your shot selection is one thing, but if you don’t make the shots then it doesn’t matter. Just because I shoot from 35 feet in pickup games doesn’t mean defenses will guard me from 35 feet like Steph Curry and Damian Lillard. Instead, they’re usually happy to chase down the brick and take it the other way. You have to make the shots for defenses to respect it.

Randle isn’t the same threat as Curry and Lillard, but he doesn’t need to be. Not only is he now more willing to let it fly from deep, but he’s had more than enough success to make defenses respect it, displaying high-level accuracy in the pick and pop and as a trailer in transition.

Randle is shooting a career-best 41 percent from 3 on a career-high five attempts per game, and in the clip below you can see how that has forced defenses to rotate and try to take that shot away.

In this clip, Derrick Rose does a great job of pressing Maxi Kleber to keep him in the play while Randle pops out to the 3-point line. In every other year of his career, the defense likely just lets Randle (a career 29 percent 3-point shooter until this season) take the shot and live with the results.

But this year is different. Dallas can’t let a 41 percent 3-point shooter take a wide-open shot, so J.J. Redick is forced to rotate up top to guard Randle. Randle takes a moment to reset, knowing he has a mismatch, then draws Luka Doncic in because he knows Redick will need help on a drive and makes the easy kick-out to R.J. Barrett for an open 3. It’s a simple game when you can shoot.