Knicks 2021 holiday wish list, including Julius Randle's rebound

·3 min read
Julius Randle Immanuel Quickley Miles McBride treated art 2021
Julius Randle Immanuel Quickley Miles McBride treated art 2021

The holidays are upon us once again, which means wish lists are filling up with potential gifts for the new year. In that spirit, we took a look at what the Knicks might wish for under the Christmas tree this season.

All-NBA Julius Randle back

The snow may be falling, but Knicks fans have been waiting for Randle’s jumper to do the same a third of the way into this new season. His efficiency has not regressed, but plummeted from the level he was shooting during his breakout year.

Not only is the shooting down, but Randle’s defensive effort and sharpness are both inconsistent after they could be relied upon in 2020-21. A good piece of New York’s defensive relapse can be tracked to his performance on that end.

It’s for these reasons the Knicks should be wishing for a return to peak Randle, or something close to it. They will only go as far as their best player, and until he returns to form it won’t be far at all.

A swift end to the Omicron wave

At exactly the juncture the Knicks needed a Christmas miracle to turn their season around, they lost seven names to health and safety protocols. RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley, Quentin Grimes, Miles McBride, Kevin Knox and Nerlens Noel are all missing time due to exposure to the coronavirus. Obi Toppin was activated from the list on Wednesday.

Those names are desperately missed as the Knicks continue to struggle against decent opponents and can’t rely on the guys that have saved their season from utter failure. Namely Quickley and Toppin, the dynamic sophomore duo that propelled New York’s bench units to the top of the league’s best lineups.

One wish would undoubtedly be the quick and safe return of the full Knicks roster. Of course this won’t be the last string of absences New York will need to worry about, but ideally the worst is over and they can re-focus on basketball.

A dejected star and a desperate team

It’s not quite in the holiday spirit to wish negative things on someone, but if one of the 20 best players in the NBA could ask for a trade and their team finds themselves desperate enough to oblige, the Knicks wouldn’t say no to that.

Clearly, marginal upgrades have not helped the Knicks enough, and they’ve stockpiled enough assets to pounce on the next available superstar looking for greener grass. Now all that’s left is hoping that superstar reveals himself and has New York on their wish list.

More opportunities for the young guns

A lone bright spot this season has been the play of New York’s younger prospects. It’s still early, but from the evidence we have so far, this front office knows how to draft and have set the Knicks up with some promising talent for years to come.

Before they were taken out by health and safety protocols, Grimes and McBride found themselves with opportunities to contribute in the rotation and did so, offering up big scoring nights and high-effort defense. Getting to see more of these Knick rookies should be a priority entering the new year.

Even Knox made some noise in his rare minutes. Toppin and Quickley have shown enough this year to demand starting roles, perhaps something we see down the line.