NEW YORK — James Harden was the final piece to a Big Three.
Julius Randle is an unquestioned No. 1.
Their status may not be the same, but there’s no difference in what their teams need for there to be a deep playoff run — or two of them — in New York. Randle is ready for his challenge, as the Knicks face Atlanta in their return to the postseason for the first time since 2013.
Though the Nets became a championship contender when Harden joined Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, they have been a mostly mediocre team without Harden.
The Knicks open their series with the Hawks Sunday night at Madison Square Garden.