New York Knicks big man Julius Randle has blossomed into a star for the Knicks, serving as a solid two-way player for the rising Knickerbockers.
Still, amid New York's recent slide, Randle has fallen under harsh criticism from fans for a wide variety of reasons.
Responding to all the noise, Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau came to his defense, issuing a scathing message to his doubters and haters.
“That’s the day and age of social media. That’s why you don’t pay attention to it. It doesn’t matter. …It’s like the backup quarterback. Everybody thinks he should start until he starts.”
Statistically, Randle has played pretty well so far, averaging 19.3 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists per game on 41.7% shooting.
When it comes to his struggling team, Randle did offer his own view on why they have failed to capture the same fire they had just a season ago.
"We're going to win games with our defense," said Randle. "That's who we are. We're not the superstars, three, four superstars on the team like Brooklyn or all these other teams. We're a team. How we were last year, how we have to be this year as well, we have to win games with our defense.
I just think we gotta understand that in order to win games we gotta play really hard, extremely hard. We gotta have game plan discipline, and we gotta win games on defense. If our offense is great, great. That's just a bonus. But who we are as a team, how we built this team and this culture is just fighting defensively, the togetherness, just the effort, the hustle plays. I feel like that's what the city of New York loves. That's what the fans love -- when they know we're out there giving it our all."
Randle, 27, has been a key member of the Knicks since joining in 2019. Last season, he helped them return to the playoffs for the first time in years.
Now, he is trying to help the team get back on track after some major struggles early on. It remains to be seen if the Knicks can improve, but Randle will be essential to turning things around.