Julius Randle feels his defense this season has been “pretty good.”
The numbers suggest otherwise as the Knicks as a team have struggled to repeat the defensive prowess they maintained last season.
“I feel like I’m playing pretty good,” Randle said Monday as the Knicks prepared for Tuesday’s game against the Pistons. “Being able to switch, guard perimeter players and post players. Versatility, being able to do that. So whatever coach asks me, whatever he needs me to do, I’m going to go out there and do it 100 percent. But yeah, I feel like I’m pretty good on that end.”
Through 30 games, the Knicks’ defensive rating (points allowed per 100 possessions), which was the fourth-best in the NBA last season at 107.8, ranks 23rd at 111.
Individual defensive performances are harder to quantify, but the Knicks’ advanced numbers with and without Randle on the floor are not in his favor. With Randle on the court, the Knicks’ defensive rating is 113.2, but with Randle off the court, that number goes down to 99.5. For reference, the Knicks’ offensive rating is 105.7 with Randle on the court and 113.8 off of it.
“We gotta get more from everyone,” coach Tom Thibodeau said when asked about Randle’s on/off numbers. “It’s not an individual thing. It’s a team thing, so we gotta get everyone playing better.”
Thibodeau said the Knicks had 10 players practicing Monday, and with the help of some video assistants, they were able to form three teams.
“Video guys are looking good,” Thibodeau quipped. “But I think the whole league, everyone is dealing with the same thing.”
— Additional reporting by Marc Berman