Knicks’ Tom Thibodeau backs Julius Randle under criticism

After the Knicks fell to 0-2 without their All-Star starting power forward, coach Tom Thibodeau stood up for the much-criticized Julius Randle – who is in COVID-19 minutes.

The rage on social media had reached a crescendo after Randle played two bad games in Minnesota and Detroit – both victories – as his numbers have slipped from last season.

Tom Thibodeau (left) came to Julius Randle's defense after the Knicks' loss to the Raptors.
Tom Thibodeau (left) came to Julius Randle’s defense after the Knicks’ loss to the Raptors.
Charles Wenzelberg, Getty

A daily drumming online has been that the Knicks should play Obi Toppin more on power forward and Randle less. After two sound blows without Randle, after Sunday’s defeat in Toronto, Thibodeau was asked if this proved what a vital gear Randle is. Randle had not missed a game before Oklahoma City on New Year’s Eve, where he played the first 35.

“He’s a great player,” Thibodeau said when asked about the attacks on Randle. “It’s the day and age of social media, and that’s what social media is. You’re not trying to be aware of it, because it’s really pointless, whether it’s praise or criticism. It does not matter. What really matters is what we think.

“And then we know how important he is. But it’s like the backup quarterback. Everyone thinks backup should start until he has to start.”


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