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Julius Randle named 2021 NBA Most Improved Player

Knicks PF went from starter to All-Star this season under new coach Tom Thibodeau.

Danilo Gallinari #8 of the Atlanta Hawks plays defense on Julius Randle #30 of the New York Knicks during Round 1, Game 1 of the 2021 NBA Playoffs on May 23, 2021 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

New York Knicks PF Julius Randle has won 2020-21 NBA Most Improved Player, per Shams Charania of The Athletic. Randle beats out Detroit Pistons F Jerami Grant and Denver Nuggets F Michael Porter Jr. to win the award. Randle went from a starter on the Knicks to an All-Star in his second season in New York under new coach Tom Thibodeau.

Randle ran away with the award, getting 98 of 100 first-place votes. Here’s the full voting breakdown. MPJ almost overtook Grant for second place in voting. Zion got a few second-place votes.

This isn’t much of a surprise, as will most of the award winners in 2020-21. Randle jumped Grant mid-season and after All-Star voting to sort of run away with the award a few months ago. Randle had been the betting favorite on DraftKings Sportsbook at -5000 back in April and his odds to win only improved from then on. Take a look at some betting splits for MIP.

Jaylen Brown and Christian Wood got some hype for MIP but weren’t named finalists. Both players either didn’t do enough or were injured for too much of the season. Porter was sort of a surprise finalist considering you could make strong cases for Wood, Brown, Zach LaVine and even Zion Williamson.

Randle finished the regular season averaging a double-double — 24.1 points and 10.2 rebounds per game, while also posting a career-high 6.0 assists per game. Randle had 45/41/81 shooting splits — his 3PT% and FT% both career highs. Randle also finished in the top 50 in PER and helped the Knicks make the playoffs for the first time since 2013.

Most Improved Player Splits

Handle Rank Player Odds % of Handle % of Bets
Handle Rank Player Odds % of Handle % of Bets
1 Julius Randle -5000 34% 19%
2 Christian Wood +6000 12% 9%
3 Jaylen Brown +15000 11% 5%
4 Zach LaVine +10000 5% 6%
5 Jerami Grant +1300 5% 4%
6 Michael Porter Jr. +3000 4% 6%
7 Zion Williamson +6000 4% 5%
8 Collin Sexton +15000 4% 6%
9 Shai Gilgeous-Alexander +15000 2% 4%
10 Ja Morant +15000 2% 2%

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