Knicks’ Julius Randle, Derrick Rose finish in Top 10 of MVP race

New York Knicks, Derrick Rose

New York Knicks forward Julius Randle bolstered his case for an All-NBA selection after finishing eighth in the MVP voting.

Randle, who was recently named as this season’s Most Improved Player, earned a total of 20 points after receiving one third-place vote, two fourth-place votes, and nine fifth-place votes. He led the Knicks’ resurgence this season which culminated in a first-round loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

Randle averaged career highs in minutes (37.6), points (24.1), rebounds (10.2), assists (6.0), 3-point percentage (41.1%), and free throw percentage (81.1%). He led the league in minutes as he carried the Knicks to their first playoff appearance in eight years.

Randle joined eventual MVP Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Rudy Gobert as the only frontcourt players inside the Top 10.

On top of that, Randle and Jokic are the only players this season who averaged at least 24 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists. They joined Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Robertson, and Russell Westbrook in that exclusive club.

Six forwards will be selected to the three All-NBA selections. Based on the MVP voting results, Randle is a cinch to make one of those teams.

Meanwhile, Derrick Rose surprisingly finished ninth in the MVP race with a sentimental first-place vote 10 years since he became the league’s youngest MVP.

Rose, a Knicks’ mid-season acquisition, enjoyed a renaissance of sorts in his third reunion with Coach of the Year Tom Thibodeau. He was a Sixth Man of the Year finalist after averaging 14.7 points and 4.2 assists off the bench in a combined 50 games with the Detroit Pistons and the Knicks this season.

League spokesman Tim Frank later clarified to New York Times’ Marc Stein that Rose’s lone first-place vote was a cumulative fan vote and did not come from a media member.

Jokic became the first Nugget and the lowest pick (No. 41 in 2014 Draft) in league history to be named MVP.

Jokic was the runaway winner after getting 91 out of the possible 100 first-place votes. He averaged career-highs in minutes (34.6), points (26.4), rebounds (10.8), assists (8.3), and free throw percentage (86.8%).

The seven-year forward Randle and six-year center Jokic shared an uncanny path to their meteoric rise this season built on incremental year-by-year development.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

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