Stephen A. Smith On Julius Randle: "He Is Not A No. 1 Option. He Is An Elite No. 3 Option, A Quality No. 2 Option, But Damn Sure Ain't A No. 1 Option."

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Credit: Getty Images

Credit: Getty Images

The New York Knicks were eliminated from the playoffs by the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night, ending their Cinderella story. The Hawks were too much to bear for Tom Thibodeau and his Knicks. 

Some players didn't rise to the challenge, especially Julius Randle. However, during the regular season, the reigning Most Improved Player was on a tear, leading this team to the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference. 

However, things changed when the playoffs arrived. Trae Young and co. were a lot for the Knicks, who only won one game. Randle earned a lot of criticism for his performances, and even Stephen A. Smith called him out for not stepping up when his team most needed him. 

During Thursday's edition of ESPN's First Take, the analyst said that Randle isn't good enough to be the No. 1 option on a championship team. 

"Julius Randle is not a No. 1 option. And I'm not gonna crucify him on this particular day because he had a phenomenal season. ... The bottom line is what you learn was his limitations. Julius Randle is an elite No. 3 option, a quality No. 2 option, but damn sure ain't a No. 1 option."

The Knicks entered the playoffs with a lot of expectations after surprising everybody in the regular season. Unfortunately, they found out that this team isn't ready to make a deep playoffs run, but they are on the right track. 

They will have a very entertaining offseason. With almost $70 million to spend, this team could make some splash and sign one or two exciting free agents to help Randle and co.