Who Is Julius Randle?
Julius Randle is a 6 foot 8 inch, Power Forward for the New York Knicks, who has been playing outstanding. Randle started his career with the Los Angeles Lakers as a 20-year-old playing alongside Kobe Bryant. Randle has not really been a star in the league up until this season where he has broken out as a top Power Forward in the league.
How Did He Come To The Knicks?
Los Angeles is where Randle called home for his first 4 years in the NBA. After that, Randle, signed a 2 year, 18 million dollars, 2nd-year team option, contract with the New Orleans Pelicans. The New Orleans Pelicans opted out of the second year of the contract not really because of his play as much as needing space and cap for their up-and-coming players. Randle would then sign a 63 million dollar, 3 years, 3rd-year team option contract with the Knicks.
In his first 4 seasons with L.A. Randle, averaged, 13.5 points, 2.6 assists, and 8.9 rebounds, while also shooting .717 from the free-throw line. In Randle’s 1 season with New Orleans, he averaged, 21.4 points, 3.1 assists, and 8.7 rebounds, while shooting .731 from the free-throw line. Now in his first season with the Knicks Randle averaged, 19.5 points, 3.1 assists, and 9.7 rebounds while shooting .733 from the free-throw line.
Building Randles Case For MIP
Randle has stepped up his game in a major way this year. The Knicks for a while now have been awful, to say the least. The Knicks always seem to be a lottery team every year (including last year), with no real star but this year something is different. The presence of Julius Randle has been felt on the team, in the franchise, and made the Knicks a feared team league-wide.
Randle has really stepped up his game on the score sheet and in a leadership role. Randles stats from last year have improved a lot from 19.5 points, 3.1 assists, and 9.7 rebounds too, 24.0 points, 5.9 assists, and 10.3 assists. adding all that makes a big difference. Randle has also upped his free throw percentage from .733 to .810 and that really helps when you account for the fact that he is in a higher usage rate giving him more chances at the line.
With the trading of superstar James Harden, Christian Wood has emerged as the man in Houston. Wood is averaging career highs in every stat. Wood is putting up 21.0 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 1.7 assists. Those numbers are good but given his competition, Randle who has brought the Knicks back to the playoffs is a much better option.
Jerami Grant has been the go-to guy for the Detroit Pistons with the trade of Derrick Rose to the Knicks, and the contract buy-out of Blake Griffin. Grant, has posted a stat-line of 22.5 points, compared to his 12.0 last, 2.8 assists, and upping his rebounds by 1.1 to now averaging 4.6 a game. Again these numbers are good but just do not compare to Randle when you account for his role on top of the fact, he has much better numbers.
There are other players like Michael Porter Jr. Chris Boucher, Zion Williamson, and even not so much with the stats, although they have improved, more in his role and the way he lifted his team, you could pick Nikola Jokic.
In short, Yes! Julius Randle is the clear-cut winner for the Most Improved Player Award, (MIP). Randle somehow managed to up all his stats in a defense-first style of play. He brought the once-great Knicks back, to the playoffs where most teams do not want to play them because of how tough they are. Julius Randle is for this season the best, option to win and that is a fact! Everything backs it up, from the team’s record, his own stats, and really when you think about it, he gave us fans hope, and that is something we lack and need.