Julius Randle scored 46 points, including 7-14 from 3 — to lead the Knicks to a 115-109 win over the Washington Wizards in the first game after the 2023 All Star break. Randle put on a Pablo Picasso of a performance to help the Knicks improve their record to 34-27.
Afterwards, coach Tom Thibodeau was asked about Randle’s 3-pt prowess this year.
Randle’s (and the Team’s) Shot Profile
“We talked about that from 3 years ago,” answered Thibodeau. “That we were at such a great deficit, team wide.”
Thibs continued: “We felt that if Randle would change his shot profile, it would change his game, and it did. Three years ago, he shot over 40% from 3 — and it opened his game up because
- he’s got the great first step,
- he’s got the power, and
- he can attack the rim.
So when he’s hitting that shot it opens the floor up for us.
And there was a wide margin; we were at a huge deficit.”
Thibs revealed the plan:
“So the whole plan was, let’s close the gap. We wanted to be high volume — and I think we’re 7th or 8th in the league now in 3-pt attempts — and try to get to league average (in percentage).
We challenged every player to do it. It’s a team responsibility.
Not only to take them, but to create them.”
The Steps of the Plan
Thibs revealed the steps of the plan:
“So how do you create them?
- You have to attack the rim, and
- Then you have to make rim reads:
- If there’s traffic, spray it.
- If you’re one on one and you have an angle to the basket, go.
- Also getting to the free throw line. If you look at Randle’s free throw attempts, they’ve gone way up — those are high-value shots.
- We wanted to put more of a limit on the mid range shot; not that we say never, but there’s a time and place, and we had to get the volume of those down.
And I think he (Randle) has; and I think that’s been a big change for him.”
In the game against Washington, the Knicks were 12-29 from 3 (41.4 %). Besides Randle going 7-14, Immanuel Quickley was 3-6 from 3, RJ Barrett was 1-2 from 3, and Quentin Grimes was 1-2 from 3. Jalen Brunson (0-3 from 3), Obi Toppin (0-1 from 3) and Josh Hart (0-1 from 3) also took 3’s. Mitchell Robinson did not take a 3 and has not yet taken a 3 in his NBA career.