‘Playing His A** Off’: Lakers’ Anthony Davis Claims Knicks’ Julius Randle Should Win the Most Improved Player

Published 05/12/2021, 2:00 PM EDT
Feb 21, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Julius Randle #30 of the New York Knicks looks to pass as Jarred Vanderbilt #8 and Anthony Edwards #1 of the Minnesota Timberwolves defend during the first half at Madison Square Garden on February 21, 2021 in New York City. Mandatory Credit: Sarah Stier/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers faced off against the New York Knicks in their most recent game. The matchup saw two of the best defenses collide against one another, and although it was a low-scoring affair, it was a must-watch. With players like Anthony Davis and Julius Randle going at it, the game became an instant classic.

While the Lakers ended up as the victors in this matchup defeating the Knicks 101-99, the back and forth between former teammates Davis and Randle was simply fascinating.

May 9, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis (3) reacts after a dunk during the second half against the Phoenix Suns at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

While Davis‘ raw numbers might reflect otherwise, AD was great for the champions last night. He did struggle offensively, but his contribution to the defensive end was commendable, to say the least.

Anthony Davis says Knicks’ Julius Randle deserves the MIP trophy

Despite suffering from a groin injury, AD took up the challenge to defend Knicks’ talisman Julius Randle. While Davis might have successfully locked him up in some possessions, the 26-year-old seemed unguardable sometimes and was the go to option for the Knicks in the offensive end.

Of the Knicks’ 99 points, Randle scored a game high 31 points, along with 5 assists and 8 rebounds. Given how impressive the 26-year-old was, former teammate and Lakers’ superstar Anthony Davis spoke about the massive leap Randle has taken.

“Julius, that’s my guy. Played with him in New Orleans and you know he definitely developed his game with shooting ability and off the dribble.”

He added, “I mean he’s been playing like this all year, you know? I think he’s an MVP kind of candidate, uh he for sure should win most improved. What he’s doing got his team in the playoffs right now you know for a team who hasn’t been in the playoffs for a while so um he’s playing his a** off and uh you know you can do nothing but respect it.”

The 1-time All-Star is having a career year with the Knicks this season. Under coach Tom Thibodeau, Randle has been given the keys to the franchise. He has also worked immensely on his jump shot. The 26-year-old has been shooting well above 40% this season, a massive improvement over the 27.7% he averaged last season.

Randle is also showing his capability to distribute the ball is the lead assist getter for the franchise. Given the massive improvement he has shown in all the departments of his game, and the way he has led the Knicks this season, Randle truly deserves to be the Most Improved Player trophy in the league.



Aditya Mohapatra

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Aditya Mohapatra is a sports enthusiast who primarily covers the NBA for EssentiallySports. Having graduated in Mass Communication, he has prior experience in writing for ABP News, and has been writing for EssentiallySports since November 2020. This die-hard Los Angeles Lakers fan feels that LeBron James is the best thing to have ever happened to the NBA, and will hold a healthy debate with anyone suggesting otherwise.