Julius Randle becomes first Knick to win NBA Player of the Month since Carmelo Anthony

Julius Randle’s best NBA season yet has reached another new level.

After being named to his first All-Star Game and getting recognized with a Player of the Week honor recently, Randle got another feather on his cap.

Randle was named Eastern Conference’s NBA Player of the Month after leading the New York Knicks to an 11-4 record in April.

The Knicks’ hottest stretch in eight years saw Randle averaging 27.1 points, 9.0 rebounds, 6.3 assists, and 1.2 steals with 44/43/86 shooting splits. In that span, he had two 40-point games and seven games with at least 30 points.

He is the first Knicks player to average at least 25 points, five rebounds, and five assists, and 40 percent on three-point attempts in a calendar month, per Elias Sports Bureau.

The Knicks have won nine straight in April and have stayed hot, winning 12 of their last 13 games to firm up their hold of the fourth seed in the East with seven games left in their schedule.

Randle beat Washington’s duo Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook, Atlanta’s Clint Capela, Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid, Cleveland’s Darius Garland, and Boston’s Jayson Tatum (BOS) in the East. Stephen Curry was named the Western Conference Player of the Month.

The 26-year old Randle became the first Knicks player to win the award since Carmelo Anthony did it in January 2014. Anthony made it twice as a Knick, while Patrick Ewing won the award five times during his illustrious run with the Knicks, making Randle just the third player in franchise history to get the award over the last 35 years.

This will not be the last time Randle will be recognized for his quantum leap this season. The Knicks’ All-Star forward is the frontrunner to win the Most Improved Player of the Year and is in the conversation for one of the All-NBA teams and perhaps can squeeze a few MVP votes.

Randle acknowledged the MVP conversation though he made it clear his focus is on leading the Knicks back to the playoffs after seven years of misery.

“For sure, I’m not going to shy away from it,” Randle said after he scored 28 points in the Knicks’ 14-point win in Memphis. “For me, it’s about getting better from game to game, improving as a player. I’m not focused on it. The praise obviously is great and everything but I’m not focused on it. For me, all I’m worried about is getting better, keep leading the team from game to game. Like I said before, our team, I feel like we can compete against anybody.”

The Knicks (37-28) currently have 1.5 games lead over the Atlanta Hawks (36-30).

Randle will have a chance to bolster his resume when the Knicks square up with the Denver Nuggets and MVP frontrunner Nikola Jokic on Wednesday.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

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