New-look Knicks offense offers tantalizing glimpse
Immediately, the Knicks’ new offensive look offered a glimpse of what the future might hold, something rarely seen last year: a shot from Julius Randle wide open.
Kemba Walker led the baseline and drew in several defenders. He fed Randle, who missed the corner by 3 points. But the look was something Randle didn’t get much of last season, when he was so on his shoulders as the Knicks’ top scorer and playmaker.
In Tuesday’s preseason opener, newcomers Evan Fournier and Walker showed just how much they can help on the offensive end, combining 24 points and five assists in a 125-104 win that saw the Knicks rack up 26 assists and just three turnovers.
“They are really highly skilled players, who really have a high IQ for basketball and know how to make games and make the game easier for everyone,” Randle said after practice Wednesday.
Coach Tom Thibodeau has said he plans to let one of his regulars rest in every preseason game – center Nerlens Noel did not play on Tuesday – and noted that it is a priority to ensure that Walker and Fournier are comfortable in their new environment. They certainly watched him against the Pacers, just like the other key Knicks.
“They fit well because they are interchangeable,” Thibodeau said. “Kemba can play with the ball, without the ball. Julius can play with it, without it. Evan can do the same. RJ [Barrett] can do the same. … The thing I love about these four guys [is they] are great downhill. So if we go down and do the right rim readings then the game becomes easy for everyone.
Mitchell Robinson center is making progress in rehabilitating after foot surgery last March, but still hasn’t fully trained. Thibodeau would not commit to Robinson playing in any of the team’s last three preseason games, but said he has been medically cleared for contact training, although this has yet to be done. occurred.
“That would be the next step,” said the Knicks coach. “You can’t go from zero to 100, and it has to go through an accumulation to prepare it. Once he has handled the appropriate step, we will move on to the next step.