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The uncomfortable "truth" about this season (Julius and RJ)

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The uncomfortable "truth" about this season (Julius and RJ) 

Post#1 » by Chanel Bomber » Mon Jun 7, 2021 4:26 pm

I was looking at the team's individual net ratings for the regular season and the playoffs and there's a clear, undeniable trend:

The starters were above-average in the regular season and terrible in the playoffs, whereas the bench was really good throughout the season. The starters kept us afloat and even outscored teams on average, but the bench killed teams.

Here are the top 4 net ratings on the team for the regular season and the playoffs:

Regular season: Rose, Gibson, Quickley, Burks (all bench players)
Playoffs: Obi, Burks, Quickley, Gibson (all bench players besides Gibson who started 3 out of 5 games)

Then I also thought, well if Rose had this much of an impact coming off the bench in the regular season, shouldn't the starting unit have been more effective against Atlanta once Rose moved to the starting line-up? Nope. No difference whatsoever. So is the foundation of our starting five an issue ie have a ceiling?

One must ask him/herself the question: did Julius and RJ really carry the Knicks to the #4 seed, or was the bench with IQ, Burks and Obi (and Rose in the regular season) really the biggest difference-maker? I'm aware this is not a black or white thing, and that impact is shared. Obviously, the starters played most of their minutes against the opposing teams' best fives, and the second unit played a lot of minutes against opposing benches (although Thibs staggered the minutes to some extent). The success of our bench doesn't mean that our bench players are better than our starters, or that they could replicate their success against opposing starters.

But I think this puts into perspective the impact that Randle and RJ really had. Where would the Knicks have ended with just an average bench? And are we underestimating IQ's skill set and impact because of the minutes?

The reason I ask these questions is because we're running the risk of building a treadmill team around Julius and RJ. It was glaring in the series against Atlanta how these two could not get easy baskets, and every possession seemed like a struggle, and I am starting to wonder if IQ and Obi don't have a higher upside, simply because they can create or convert more easy baskets. Neither Randle nor RJ even reached league-average in scoring efficiency, regular season or playoffs.

Randle
Regular season: +0.3 per 100 ON/OFF, 3.0 net rating, 56.7 TS% (below league-average)
Playoffs: -19.6 per 100 ON/OFF, -12.1 net rating (8th), 42.5 TS%

Barrett
Regular season: +0.4 per 100 ON/OFF, 2.7 net rating, 53.5 TS% (below league-average)
Playoffs: -14.7 per 100 ON/OFF, -10.2 net rating (7th), 48.9 TS%

So my question is: remember how the Knicks didn't amnesty Amar'e because he revitalized the franchise, and amnestied Billups instead, which took us out of the Chris Paul sweepstakes? The Knicks were emotional, and not ruthless. Amar'e was a feel-good story, so they decided to keep him. It cost them dearly in the long-run. Today I wonder if the Knicks wouldn't be repeating the same mistake by building around Julius and RJ. I'm a big RJ fan, and I've learned to appreciate and root for Julius, but I start to wonder if this might be the offseason where unpopular decisions need to be made. Just thinking out loud.
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Re: The uncomfortable "truth" about this season (Julius and RJ) 

Post#2 » by god shammgod » Mon Jun 7, 2021 4:30 pm

this is a good thread. i will say though, if you had the regular season julius with rose in the starting lineup it probably would have been better. but you didn't. rj really has no affect on winning at any time. he's neutral at best.

but yes, we're on the way to the treadmill if we build around those two.
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Re: The uncomfortable "truth" about this season (Julius and RJ) 

Post#3 » by cgf » Mon Jun 7, 2021 4:31 pm

With how awful Julius was already playing, I don't think that sample with Rose in the starting lineup tells us anything significant because if Julius had been that bad in the regular season, our starters wouldn't have been treading water either. So I'm not sure this really tells us anything other than that Julius & RJ sucked this postseason.



My big issue with the idea of selling high is that after that postseason performance, I dunno how high we can actually sell...especially if their poor showing was just nerves due to inexperience & not having had crowds all season.
dogrufus wrote:Plus the win would put us at .500 and 5 straight wins, making every poster here cream in their pants.

We're Knicks fans. We never get to cream.


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Re: The uncomfortable "truth" about this season (Julius and RJ) 

Post#4 » by cgf » Mon Jun 7, 2021 4:35 pm

god shammgod wrote:this is a good thread. i will say though, if you had the regular season julius with rose in the starting lineup it probably would have been better. but you didn't. rj really has no affect on winning at any time. he's neutral at best.

but yes, we're on the way to the treadmill if we build around those two.


There are worse things in a market like ours, than being a well-run treadmill team with control of all of its picks...if we can reach that level :dontknow:
dogrufus wrote:Plus the win would put us at .500 and 5 straight wins, making every poster here cream in their pants.

We're Knicks fans. We never get to cream.


cgmw wrote:Basically, in conclusion: I'd like Dolan to get off my lawn.
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Re: The uncomfortable "truth" about this season (Julius and RJ) 

Post#5 » by god shammgod » Mon Jun 7, 2021 4:45 pm

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Re: The uncomfortable "truth" about this season (Julius and RJ) 

Post#6 » by 3toheadmelo » Mon Jun 7, 2021 4:51 pm

I am more worried about RJ and my concerns with him go back since he was in Duke. His upside seems to be a bit limited. Good player no doubt, but I don’t really see that all star talent that others see in him. More of a 3 and D guy with inconsistent defense.

My concerns with Randle have to do more from a mental standpoint that talent wise. He’s had phenomenal games during the season where he’s looked like Kawhi lite and was just unguardable. I don’t know if the crowd got to him in the playoffs, first playoffs jitters, or the Hawks just did a really good job of shutting him down but I still believe in his capabilities as a player.

Now with all of that said, both RJ and Randle are still good complimentary pieces to keep. But we need a true #1 option. We won’t reach anywhere until we get one.
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Re: The uncomfortable "truth" about this season (Julius and RJ) 

Post#7 » by Handledatruth » Mon Jun 7, 2021 4:58 pm

Julius or RJ would thrive in an offense that provides maximum spacing, however they are two players that don't space the floor well. Add in guys like Elfrid, Noel, and even Mitch and the problem is amplified. The real question is not what to do with RJ and Julius, it is more of what to do with RJ or Julius. If it were me in the front office, I would stick with the original instinct that netted Obi over a guard with the idea that it compliments RJ better. Let RJ thrive as the primary threat with the hope that guys like Obi and Quickley up their production as well. It's a bold decision knowing how well Randle played this season, but I think it is the right one.

Spoiler:
I fully expect our franchise to do the opposite though and eventually watch Obi and maybe even RJ leave for some flawed all-stars.
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Re: The uncomfortable "truth" about this season (Julius and RJ) 

Post#8 » by BugginOut » Mon Jun 7, 2021 5:01 pm

Thibs developed a routine approach to winning game that was based on our defense. We would have our starters (our best defensive players) grind the other teams starters on defense to get them out of rhythm and then our bench (which are all shot creators and shooters) would feast on the other teams benches.

Then in the 4th, which ever shot creator was having the better game (Rose, IQ, Burks, RJ) we would ride them in the 4th to the win.

These were grind them out wins. Even though we won a lot after the allstar break we didn’t blow many teams out because our formula just wasn’t focused on offense. Everything was a close game.

Also you need to remember our starters played with Payton the most minutes and his net rating was so bad that if you remove his minutes the Knicks would of been one of the top 5 teams in the league based on net rating.

What these stats tell me is we won with our defense, with Randle and RJ providing average offense. What we need is a shot creating PG that can also play defense so that we keep our defensive identity while also uplifting our offense.
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Re: The uncomfortable "truth" about this season (Julius and RJ) 

Post#9 » by K-DOT » Mon Jun 7, 2021 5:16 pm

3toheadmelo wrote:I am more worried about RJ and my concerns with him go back since he was in Duke. His upside seems to be a bit limited. Good player no doubt, but I don’t really see that all star talent that others see in him. More of a 3 and D guy with inconsistent defense.

I don't get why you keep saying stuff like this, cause if you told people when he was in college that RJ would be a 40% shooter by his 2nd year in the league, he would have been taken 2nd, likely made a case for first overall

This notion that RJ has absolutely zero shot creation skill is just weird to me, because that's what he was primarily known for until this year, a shot creator. He wasn't great at it, but he had the skillset

Now he has a legit 3pt shot and you act like he's only ever been a spot-up 3pt shooter, when that's never been the case. Even this year, he was at his best as a spot-up guy, but he still created for himself plenty

To put it another way, he basically had the same shot profile as 2016 Khris Middleton

(Per36)
RJ: 18/6/3, 44/40/75 splits (.535 TS), 4.4 3pt attempts/ 15.2 FGA
Middleton: 18/4/4, 44/40/89 splits (.560 TS), 4.6 3pt attempts/ 14.4 FGA

Not even a third of his shots are 3pt shots. That's not 3-D.
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Re: The uncomfortable "truth" about this season (Julius and RJ) 

Post#10 » by Knicksfan1992 » Mon Jun 7, 2021 5:22 pm

Julius/RJ/Mitch (No Payton): +9.0 Net Rating
Julius/RJ/IQ (No Payton): +15.4 Net Rating
Julius/RJ/Rose (No Payton): +13.2 Net Rating
RJ/Obi/Rose (No Payton): +15.3 Net Rating
Obi/Rose/IQ (No Payton): +18.2 Net Rating
IQ/RJ/Julius/Mitch (No Payton); +13.6 Net Rating

Those are really the combinations that matter in the long run and specifically the fact that Elfrid is presumably gone and once we got semi competent guard play from Rose the group took off. I agree that unless RJ and Randle take another leap there is a somewhat capped ceiling on this team but I'm not going to rule that out either given the rapid progression both have already made while in uniform. I'm also not going to read too much into one series where, in hindsight, our personnel was much more limited/inexperience than the opposition and specifically their main guy was an awful matchup for us defensively...

Again Shamm loves to be overly critical and doom and gloom to balance the board out but labeling this team treadmill after 1 year with a mostly young crew and their best defensive player out for the playoffs seems a little comical to me. Yeah we can talk in absolutes about how Julius isn't a number 1 and nothing matters except for that but there are mutliple ways to skin a cat and the Knicks seemed as prime as any other team to snag that ultimate talent if they feel the need to or continue what they're doing until that occurs. Plenty of positive assets on this team. You can build it block by block or swing for the fences this summer and next summer. That's the great part of where we're at. We haven't been this good and also flexible as a franchise in a long time. Really gives you a small position of power within the league.
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Re: The uncomfortable "truth" about this season (Julius and RJ) 

Post#11 » by Ghetto Gospel » Mon Jun 7, 2021 5:23 pm

Good post. Just want to add another uncomfortable "truth" about this team and it's that we aren't getting a superstar in free agency or trade that'll save our team. If we get anyone it'll be some 3rd rate superstar that gets us into the playoffs to lose again in the first round or second round at best
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Re: The uncomfortable "truth" about this season (Julius and RJ) 

Post#12 » by 3toheadmelo » Mon Jun 7, 2021 5:25 pm

K-DOT wrote:
3toheadmelo wrote:I am more worried about RJ and my concerns with him go back since he was in Duke. His upside seems to be a bit limited. Good player no doubt, but I don’t really see that all star talent that others see in him. More of a 3 and D guy with inconsistent defense.

I don't get why you keep saying stuff like this, cause if you told people when he was in college that RJ would be a 40% shooter by his 2nd year in the league, he would have been taken 2nd, likely made a case for first overall

This notion that RJ has absolutely zero shot creation skill is just weird to me, because that's what he was primarily known for until this year, a shot creator. He wasn't great at it, but he had the skillset

Now he has a legit 3pt shot and you act like he's only ever been a spot-up 3pt shooter, when that's never been the case. Even this year, he was at his best as a spot-up guy, but he still created for himself plenty

To put it another way, he basically had the same shot profile as 2016 Khris Middleton

(Per36)
RJ: 18/6/3, 44/40/75 splits (.535 TS), 4.4 3pt attempts/ 15.2 FGA
Middleton: 18/4/4, 44/40/89 splits (.560 TS), 4.6 3pt attempts/ 14.4 FGA

Not even a third of his shots are 3pt shots. That's not 3-D.

His only “creation” move is driving to the rim for a basic layup. So if you think that’s something we should go crazy about, be my guest. There’s a reason why a lot of us call him a 3 and D guy. We went from comparing him to Tatum to now Middleton. Reality starting to settle in for some of you guys now :lol:
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Re: The uncomfortable "truth" about this season (Julius and RJ) 

Post#13 » by ENYK » Mon Jun 7, 2021 5:25 pm

I think this season's success story is somewhat troubling, especially if the FO goes with the simplistic narrative that Randle and RJ got the Knicks to a 4th seed and can have an even higher ceiling if given complementary players (the idea that they themselves are not better suited as complementary players is alarming).

The Rose trade changed the whole dynamic... I think the Knicks' would've been fighting for a play in spot with all of the other bottom feeders if Rose hadn't been traded here. Rose was the ONLY player on the roster (except for under-played IQ) able to create for himself on the perimeter. If a team doesn't have that guy, it's basically dead in the water in the 2021 NBA.

We saw how much the Knicks relied on Rose and Taj down the stretch and in their one playoff win... It's a nice story to see how much they have left in the tank, but pretty ugly for the Knicks if they're selling us on Randle/RJ promise.

I think this is why the Knicks have to sell high on Randle/RJ right now for (high) picks/young prospects. I don't see Randle and RJ improving to the point that we have an actual star tandem... Randle is a vet at this point (not exactly young by NBA standards), and it's quite possible his shooting percentages slip now that other teams are scouting him more and he's playing in packed arenas... RJ cannot create for himself (not explosive or skilled enough) and isn't exactly a consistent defender. I see their values diminishing rather than increasing.

Time to sell high and set ourselves up to land real superstars as they become available (Luka, Tatum, Donovan, Zion, etc.).
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Re: The uncomfortable "truth" about this season (Julius and RJ) 

Post#14 » by sol537 » Mon Jun 7, 2021 5:27 pm

Trade Randle + Knox to GSW for Wiggins (bought out) + Wiseman + their lotto pick
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Re: The uncomfortable "truth" about this season (Julius and RJ) 

Post#15 » by RHODEY » Mon Jun 7, 2021 5:39 pm

Handledatruth wrote:Julius or RJ would thrive in an offense that provides maximum spacing, however they are two players that don't space the floor well. Add in guys like Elfrid, Noel, and even Mitch and the problem is amplified. The real question is not what to do with RJ and Julius, it is more of what to do with RJ or Julius. If it were me in the front office, I would stick with the original instinct that netted Obi over a guard with the idea that it compliments RJ better. Let RJ thrive as the primary threat with the hope that guys like Obi and Quickley up their production as well. It's a bold decision knowing how well Randle played this season, but I think it is the right one.

Spoiler:
I fully expect our franchise to do the opposite though and eventually watch Obi and maybe even RJ leave for some flawed all-stars.



This :nod:
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Re: The uncomfortable "truth" about this season (Julius and RJ) 

Post#16 » by Spree2Houston » Mon Jun 7, 2021 5:50 pm

Barrett and Randle are practically the same player. One needs to go
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Re: The uncomfortable "truth" about this season (Julius and RJ) 

Post#17 » by Deeeez Knicks » Mon Jun 7, 2021 5:50 pm

There were 2 reasons why our bench outperformed the starters in the playoffs:
1. Trae playing like a superstar and the Hawks take a dip when hes on the bench
2. Randle sucking
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Re: The uncomfortable "truth" about this season (Julius and RJ) 

Post#18 » by Richard4444 » Mon Jun 7, 2021 5:52 pm

Randle and RJ played in a starting unit with 3 average starting players (Payton, Noel, and Bullock). Of course, the net rating would not be great. The simple fact that it was
a positive net rating is really nice considering that our opponents have more stars and better players starting.

Our bench was way better than the other teams. We had 2 great vets Rose and Taj, 2 good rookies IQ and Obi, and a great year from Burks. Generally, playoff teams have to sacrifice depth to get have more stars and have an inferior bench (with cheap players and not very good rookies).
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Re: The uncomfortable "truth" about this season (Julius and RJ) 

Post#19 » by Knicksfan1992 » Mon Jun 7, 2021 5:53 pm

Spree2Houston wrote:Barrett and Randle are practically the same player. One needs to go


Ah yes because when the Knicks actually get 2 pretty good young 2 way players who have the potential to create for themselves and others consistently we must send 1 packing. Especially when they both just came off a season shooting 40% from 3 and both are on value contracts :lol:
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Re: The uncomfortable "truth" about this season (Julius and RJ) 

Post#20 » by Knicksfan1992 » Mon Jun 7, 2021 5:55 pm

sol537 wrote:Trade Randle + Knox to GSW for Wiggins (bought out) + Wiseman + their lotto pick


Jesus christ sorry Chanel your good thread has already been bombarded with awful ideas like this.

One bad 5 game stretch against a team that went "all in" has y'all out of your minds :noway:

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