Would Julius Randle’s return really hurt the Knicks?

New York went nearly two months without three-time standout Julius Randle, who has been out since Jan. 27 with a dislocated shoulder. Even if Randle is expected to return in time for the postseason, the Knicks’ changing landscape could make him more of a liability rather than an asset, as theorized by Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report.

“This is, admittedly, a bit of a disappointment, given that Julius Randle has been the scapegoat for his team’s struggles far more often than his numbers say he should,” Buckley said. “On the other hand, his playoff track record contributes a lot to these criticisms.”

“The Knicks have at least given him more support than perhaps he’s ever had, so he may be able to pick his spots better and hopefully increase his efficiency in the process. That said, there’s a very real possibility that be knocked out of rhythm when the playoffs come around, as a shoulder injury has sidelined him since late January, and he has yet to be cleared for full contact.”

The Knicks look a little different since Randle last spoke, having acquired Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks at the trade deadline. Developing team chemistry could be a concern with 15 regular season games remaining on the schedule and no specific timetable for his return.

Recent history is also a cause for concern: Randle rushed back from an ankle injury to take part in last year’s postseason run and averaged 16.6 points on just over 37% from the field.