Skip to main content

How Has the Knicks' Big 3 Responded To Early Challenges?

Bleacher Report wrote on the New York Knicks top players and how they have performed to open the 2022-2023 campaign

Through the first 11 games of the 2022-2023 season, the New York Knicks (5-6) have stayed out of the limelight, for the most part. In attempting to make its second playoff appearance in the past decade, New York has hovered around .500 in the early going.

But for a team that made one of the biggest splashes during this offseason's free agency period, signing Jalen Brunson to a four-year, $104 million contract, immediate expectations remain relatively high. To that end, Bleacher Report recently analyzed how the Knicks' de facto big three of Brunson, Julius Randle, and R.J Barrett have played up to this point in the season.

On the positive side, Brunson, who spent his first four seasons with the Dallas Mavericks, has lived up to the massive standards the contract placed upon him. 

"Pumping in a personal-best 19.7 points per game is impressive on its own, but doing that on 50.7 percent shooting is wholly encouraging," Bleacher Report wrote. "(So is) tossing out a career-high 7.3 assists while coughing up just 1.7 turnovers in 33.8 minutes per game."

On the other hand, the career-long Knick Barrett seemed poised for an All-Star leap since the midway point of last season but has struggled to find a rhythm from beyond the arc in the fledgling stages of this one, hitting just under 31 percent of his threes. Barrett is still averaging 19.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 2.9 assists, but his lack of consistency leaves him a few steps away from that leap to stardom.

"He can be relentless off the bounce, he rebounds well for his position, he works as a secondary playmaker, and he usually holds his own defensively," Bleacher Report wrote. "If goodness was the goal, he's there already and knocking on the door of very-goodness. [sic]. If greatness is the aim, though, the 22-year-old still has several boxes to check."

Finally, there's Randle, whose lone All-Star appearance came in his second season with the Knicks in 2021. Playing in the first season of a four-year, $117 million contract extension bestowed after that campaign, the fanbase has been hopeful Randle rediscover his game with Brunson in tow. 

Unfortunately for the Knicks, however, Randle has dealt with some inconsistencies to begin the year, averaging nearly as many assists (3.3) as turnovers (3.2). 

"Most metrics paint him better than last season, so if that's where expectations were set, he's a half-tick above them," the analysis declares. "However, if folks were hoping for a return to his All-NBA second-team form from 2020-21, he's nowhere near that level."

The Knicks hope to get back to .500 Friday night at home against the Detroit Pistons (7:30 p.m. ET, MSG).  

You can follow Riley Sheppard on Twitter @RileyDSheppard

To The Garden and beyond! Get your Knicks game tickets from SI Tickets ... here!

Want the latest in breaking news and insider information on the Knicks? Click Here.

Follow on Twitter.