Few expected the New York Knicks to make a push for the playoffs, let alone come away with home-court advantage in the first round. Maybe even fewer expected the jump Julius Randle made this season

On Tuesday night, Randle was officially awarded for it when he was named the NBA’s 2020-21 Most Improved Player.

“I just wanna say thank you to everybody involved,” Randle told reporters on a videoconference shortly after being named the winner. “I mean it truly was a team thing. Everybody in the Knicks organization, top to bottom, I can’t thank everybody enough.

“All my teammates, everybody, they trust me and empower me. I just wanna thank them for allowing me to lead them. And then my family, my wife, my son, everybody, like everybody, has played a part in helping me continue to become the best version of me on and off the court.”

Randle’s son, Kyden, surprised his dad with the award after the Knicks’ practice on Tuesday. Randle received 98 first-place votes out of a possible 100. Detroit’s Jerami Grant, who finished second, received the other two. Denver’s Michael Porter Jr. finished third.

Player (Team)1st-Place Votes2nd-Place3rd-PlaceTotal Points
Julius Randle (New York)9810493
Jerami Grant (Detroit)23331140
Michael Porter Jr. (Denver)04018138
Christian Wood (Houston)0101444
Zach LaVine (Chicago)05520
Jaylen Brown (Boston)01710
Chris Boucher (Toronto)03110
Mikal Bridges (Phoenix)0088
Zion Williamson (New Orleans)0206
Nikola Vučević (Chicago)0103
Clint Capela (Atlanta)0103
Jordan Poole (Golden State)0103
Jordan Clarkson (Utah)0103
Luguentz Dort (Oklahoma City)0103
Darius Garland (Cleveland)0033
Kyle Anderson (Memphis)0022
RJ Barrett (New York)0022
Miles Bridges (Charlotte)0022
Lonzo Ball (New Orleans)0011
T.J. McConnell (Indiana)0011
Andrew Wiggins (Golden State)0011
Richaun Holmes (Sacramento)0011
Bojan Bogdanović (Utah)0011
Terry Rozier (Charlotte)0011
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (OKC)0011
NOTE: 1st-place vote = 5 points; 2nd-place vote = 3 points; 3rd-place vote = 1 point

A seven-year veteran, Randle is only the second player to win the award in his seventh season or later, joining Hedo Turkoglu, who won it in his eighth season in 2007-08.

In his first six seasons in the league, Randle made 168 3-pointers while shooting 29.5% from deep. This season with New York, he made 160 3-pointers on 5.5 attempts per game.

Randle averaged career highs in points (24.1), rebounds (10.2), assists (6.0), 3-point percentage (41.1%) and free throw percentage (81.1%).

Randle’s volume of 3-point shooting initially took off two seasons ago with the New Orleans Pelicans. After attempting a combined 144 3-pointers in the previous three seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, Randle attempted 195 in his lone season with the Pelicans.

He credited then-Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry for giving him the opportunity to begin to expand his game out to the perimeter. Randle recalled early during his time with New Orleans that Gentry told him he can shoot the ball and wanted him to start launching more 3-pointers.

Courtesy: ESPN


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here