The Julius Randle Problem

[Post] - Szczerbiak noted the Toppin-Randle phenomenon.

“When Randle went out of the lineup [last week], it gave Obi Toppin the opportunity to get the start,” Szczerbiak said. “You see how much his teammates are picking his play up and the energy he’s playing with. The crowd loves him. They want to see him out on the court. His team is playing with a lot of joy. It’s about playing with joy and picking up your teammates.”

In the final minute of the Charlotte laugher last week, Randle left the bench, then stayed in the tunnel with a public relations staffer. But that’s nothing compared to his decision to no longer participate in the pregame starting lineup introductions for road games — choosing instead to stay in the back to warm up.

Sources contend a lack of leadership from Randle has hurt the club this season. One source said Randle sometimes dresses by himself in another area of the locker room.

The Knicks coach wouldn’t share them. But one person connected to the team recently described Randle’s behavior this season as “incorrigible.” The Post previously reported that Randle didn’t come into training camp in the same shape as last season when he became a first-time All-Star.

Well this is what you call not ideal and in fact bad. We can argue what you think of Julius Randle, but a year after he won over the city and looked like he could be a piece of a good team? Yeah, you can't have this. It's not even like he's on this brutal contract or anything. He deserved the contract he got this past offseason after what he did. Like I said, he can be the No. 3 option on a good team, especially the way RJ looks as a number 2. The Knicks were never going to compete for a title with them as 1 and 2 but they should have always been in playoff contention. 

Instead we have this report. Hurting the club. Lack of leadership. Dressing by himself. Incorrigible behavior. Not coming into training camp in shape. Brutal. 

I want to defend Randle here. But I can't. Nobody can defend what he's doing in terms of attitude and shit like that. Sure, fans turning on him right away is stupid. It's also part of the Knicks culture. Randle needs to just play well. Honestly who gives a shit about fans and their thoughts. Just play, play well and win and nobody gives a damn where you get changed. 

It also doesn't help that Obi is impossible to cheer against. You can tell his teammates loves him. Fans clearly love him. Again, we can debate what you think of him long term as a starter in the NBA and everything. But for a team that should be growing the youth, it's hard to argue against Obi playing his ass off. That's half the battle and Obi has that knocked down pretty well. 

Here's the thing. There's no real answer as to where you go from here too. Trade Randle? His value is as low as it can get. Reports like this don't help in terms of negotiations as well. Let him keep playing? Fine, but then you have to deal with everything said in the report. It's a no-win situation right now and that's what fucking sucks. 

The Knicks have a core. RJ is looking more and more like a true No. 3 overall pick. Obi, IQ, Grimes, Deuce and Mitch are all young. Now it's time to figure this shit out. You either need Randle to buy all the way back in and cut out the bullshit or trade him for whatever.