Photo From: Daily Knicks
Julius Randle, 2020-2021, Most Improved Player. What a season for the New York Knicks… but I am not here to talk about the success of the Knicks, instead here to talk about the success of their leader Randle (NBA Playoff podcast coming soon, so you will hear me talk about the success of the Knicks there ;)). This is the first season the Knicks have made the playoffs in nine years, securing the fourth seed to play the Atlanta Hawks in round one.
Photo From: CBS Sports
1st-time Allstar Julius Randle this current season is averaging 24.1 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 6 assists, way more impressive than his already impressive 19.5 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 3.1 assist that he averaged last season. So what's the big difference? Why couldn't Randle take last year's team to the playoffs? What changed? We clearly see an improvement in his stats, but not major ones, but those stats last year, even though they looked good on paper, were realistically empty statistics as they finished 21-45 as the 12th seed in the eastern conference.
Photo From: Daily Knicks
How were they empty, you ask? Randle grew so much from last season to this season. His three-point percentage jumped from 27.7 all the way to 41.1, mostly because he is playing way smarter, and taking better shots. A better shot selection can take a player to the next level, and that is exactly what Randle showed us. Although his rebounds slightly improved from 9.7 to 10.2, his assist basically DOUBLED, going from 3.1 to 6.0. Watching Randle this season versus last season, I have noticed how much of a better playmaker he has become, how selfless of a player he has become, and that alone, has made a huge effect on this team. As his offense clearly improved, so did his defense which I believe is one of the biggest reasons the Knicks are in this position.
Photo From: New York Post
After an all-time low for the organization and being the stooges of the league, they bred a star, a star that goes by the name of, Julius Randle. Randle was never really given a shot with the New Orlean Pelicans or the LA Lakers neither team wanted to re-sign him, the Knicks took a chance on him. And it's safe to say THEY ARNT COMPLAINING. This was a perfect addition to the Knicks, the Knicks saw his talent, they worked on his talent, they gave him the shot the other teams didn't want to give. THEY BOTH BELIEVED IN EACH OTHER. Like the Knicks, Randle knew he could help this team be something bigger, giving them a chance they haven't had in a long, long time. The Knicks have been waiting for a star, and they finally got what they have been asking for.
Photo From: NY Daily News
With Michael Porter Jr. and Jerami Grant also being in the race for the MIP award, to me, it was evident that Julius Randle deserved this award. Randle finished with 493 total points, Grant finished with 140 total points, and Porter Jr. finished with 138 total points in the voting, seeing that most sportswriters and broadcasters had the same idea as I, knowing that no one deserved this award more than Randle.
Photo From: ESPN
Last night, Randle and the New York Knicks tied up the round one series against the Atlanta Hawks 1-1. I have a good feeling Randle could lead this team to the second round if he continues to prove how big of a star he really is. I have an NBA Playoff Podcast dropping soon where I will go more in-depth about every matchup, series, and prediction I have for this current postseason. I want to finish this with some questions for you. Do you think the Knicks can stop Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks? How far can the Knicks go? Will Randle be the Knick's new franchise player?