Julius Randle
Nick Wass/AP Photo

The New York Knicks’ top free-agent signing, Julius Randle, wants to clean up mistakes and believes that effort will lead to wins.

At 24 years old, New York Knicks forward Julius Randle already sounds like a wise veteran. After a nail-biting preseason loss to the Atlanta Hawks, Randle talked about the formula for winning despite having so many new faces on the roster.

“We’ve got to win games with energy and effort and out-hustling teams,” he said, via George Willis of the New York Post. “Then when we get in the last four minutes, we have to execute down the stretch.”

For his part, in a losing effort, Randle had 20 points on 12 shots and eight rebounds in 35 minutes of play. But fans can be excited that Randle flashed just about all the different facets of his game. The six-year man out of Kentucky, scored, rebounded the ball, and even had a nice assist to Bobby Portis.

Randle is right. For at least the first 15 to 20 games, head coach David Fizdale will be tinkering with lineups until a reliable rotation emerges. During that time, the Knicks will have to gut out victories with hard-nosed play and maximum effort on both ends of the floor.

Even though Randle is probably itching to have some type of playoff success in his young career, in a leadership role, on a young team, he sounds like he understands the long-term vision.

“We took a step forward today,” Randle said. “There were some technique things we have to do better: offensive rebounds, too many fouls and we have to finish better.”

Randle and the Knicks will get their next chance at improvement when the orange and blue face the New Orleans Pelicans Friday night. Randle spent last season with the Pelicans and enjoyed the best season of his career.

A year later, Randle’s newest and biggest challenge lies within elevating his own game to an All-Star level and improving a team that won 17 games last year.