With Julius Randle absent and Mitchell Robinson trying to get back, the Knicks are in a tough spot.

With Julius Randle absent and Mitchell Robinson trying to get back, the Knicks are in a tough spot.

Mitchell Robinson, a player for the New York Knicks, hurt his right ankle during a game with the Boston Celtics on December 8, 2023.

The injury needed surgery, and early reports said that the center would be out for the rest of the season while he heals.

The news was devastating because Mitch had become a great defender, averaged a career-high 10.3 points per game, and had become the team’s most important player. He was seen by many as New York’s second or third most important player.

Instead of falling apart, the Knicks have done great without him, via reserve center Isaiah Hartenstein taking over as starter. During that time, Hartenstein was New York’s main center, and the team went 15-8.

Hartenstein has an impressive 11.8 points, 11 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 2.9 stocks (steals + blocks) per game in the 23 games he’s played since becoming a starter.

Not long ago, though, Iron Man Isaiah missed the first two games of his Knicks career because of Achilles tendinopathy.

Don’t worry! The Knicks also won those games, with Precious Achiuwa, who they just bought, playing his best hoops yet for the blue and orange. Jericho Sims filled in as the starter.

Not so quickly. Another bad injury suffered by the frontcourt was on the way. Power forward Julius Randle fractured his shoulder in a win over the Miami Heat on Saturday.

It hurts even more to lose Randle because he was playing a lot of the best basketball of his career, in part. After all, the legendary OG Anunoby joined the team in the new year. His production is going to be sorely missed.

With the addition of Jalen Brunson, the Knicks think they have solved their point-guard problem.

Captain of the team Leon Rose signed RJ Barrett to a long-term deal. The front office found a way to keep Mitchell Robinson, who is a star defensive end.

They will all be very important for the Knicks as they try to move up in the tough Eastern Conference over the next few years.

It’s not clear what will happen with Julius Randle, who has been their top scorer, rebounder, and passer for the past three seasons.

Randle, who is 27 years old, is still one of their best and most expensive players. He has played 207 games for the Knicks and averages 21.3 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 4.8 assists. This season, he is owed $23.7 million.

This big forward was a big part of the Knicks’ big season in 2020–21. He was named the NBA’s Most Improved Player, made the All-NBA second team, and led the team to its first playoff appearance since 2013.

But Randle, who is 6 feet 8 inches tall and 250 pounds, has always been best when he has a football in his hands. That will happen much less often now that Brunson is on the team, though.

Randle will have fewer one-on-one plays and more post-ups or spot-up shots. Less chances for him to start an offense. He will have to get used to things and be willing to change.

It might make playing it easier for him by giving him access to things that weren’t there before.

Randle might not be affected by having less responsibility for making plays as long as he agrees that his role will be changed.

Let’s not forget that Randle had a bad season last year. He made only 41.1 percent of his field goal attempts, which was the lowest percentage he had seen since his first year with the Lakers. He also made only 30.8 percent of his three-point shots.

His number of assists went down from 6 to 5.1, but his rate of turnovers stayed high at a huge 3.4 per game.

There wasn’t a real point guard on the team for a lot of that because Kemba Walker as well as Derrick Rose were hurt.

The most well-known event happened in early January. Randle got angry when people said bad things about him.

At the time, he said, “To be honest, I don’t care what anyone has to say.” He showed the fans the thumbs-down sign at the next game. Randle said, “To shut the f–k up” when asked what it was for.