Donavan Mitchell has demonstrated why he is a superstar to be chased. But Julius Randle’s struggle – along with his familiar passionate temper – was not conducive to selling New York as a destination.
Mitchell, who grew up near the Knicks training base in Westchester, showed the show on MSG on Sunday night, losing 36 points and losing the Knicks ’chances of approaching the final place of the game.
Mitchell is seen in the league as a potential trading target for the Knicks, either this summer or later, but he has a contract in Utah at least until 2025 and he will need to come out like James Harden or Ben Simmons.
Currently, Jazz (45-26) is much better than Knicks (30-41). Obviously, Mitchell is a significant part of that count, as he demonstrated seven three-pointers out of 12 attempts on Sunday. But the 23-year-old is also a teammate with NBA chief defender Rudy Robert, who strangled the Knicks on Sunday.
Randle was again in disarray, missing 16 of 22 throw attempts, which sparked the MSG crowd after an expensive turnaround in the fourth quarter. He was the main culprit for another Knicks failure in the fourth quarter when their reserves reduced the deficit to 4 before the starting teams returned to quickly undermine it.
Randall’s frustration boiled over again as the 27-year-old had to refrain from confronting Robert after the last beep. Robert, who finished with four blocks and 14 points, tried to relieve the tension, but Randle was still worried enough to make the scene.
In his last three games Randle has scored (15-on-62). RJ Barrett was not much better on Sunday, shooting 8 for 20 and 24 points in 42 minutes. The Knicks were 20 points ahead of Barrett on the court.
When the Hawks passed the Pelicans on Sunday, the Knicks had the opportunity to reduce the deficit to four games outside the final point of the game. It was more significant since the Knicks hosted the Hawks on Tuesday.
Instead, the Knicks remained in five games and could be completely buried on Tuesday by Tre Young and the Hawks.
Mitchell did his part on Sunday.