MEMPHIS — With every 30-point game, every 3-point shot, every barrel to the rim or whipped pass to the corner, the buzz is growing for Julius Randle.
It started early in the season with All-Star consideration, then talk shifted to leading candidate for Most Improved Player. Last month, the talk was being a shoo-in for one of the three All-NBA Teams.
And now it’s moved to the league’s highest individual honor — MVP.
Beyond just the giddy chants at the Garden – and even small ones in Houston on Sunday and Memphis on Monday – Randle is a real live candidate battling Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, Chris Paul, Luka Doncic and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Despite leading the league in minutes, Randle’s run isn’t slowing down as he’s led the Knicks to the eighth-best record in the NBA. Their 12-1 spurt and 2-0 start to their six-game western swing has them as the NBA’s hottest club.
On Wednesday in Denver, the Knicks will face the leading MVP candidate in Jokic. In mid-April, the NBA’s MVP Ladder rankings didn’t include Randle in the top 15. The latest one positions Randle eighth.
Knicks Julius Randle NBA MVPKnicks forward Julius Randle smiles during a win over the Grizzlies on May 3, 2021.