Julius Randle Responds to MVP Chants From Knicks Fans

julius randle

Getty Julius Randle is winning over fans.

This time last year, New York Knicks forward Julius Randle was giving Madison Square Garden fans a “thumbs down” gesture in response to the boos he had been receiving.

Fast forward to 2023 and he’s getting MVP chants from those same fans, indicating the huge turnaround he’s made this year. Coming off an All-NBA selection, Randle’s stats last year fell across the board and the Knicks suffered for it.

With Jalen Brunson now it town, Randle looks reinvigorated and his numbers have shot back up. On the year he’s averaging 24.2 points per game on 46.7 percent shooting from the floor. If that’s able to hold for the rest of the season, it’s tough to imagine him not making another All-Star team, especially since those are practically the same averages he turned out during his lone All-Star year.

When asked after the blowout win over the Phoenix Suns about the MVP chants, Randle admitted it’s a lot better to have the fan support versus not having it at all.

Randle Responds to Fans

Fans typically chant MVP to their players when they are having good games, and it often time comes for a player who has no shot of winning the award, but instead it’s just a way of showing support.

Randle has pratically no shot at winning the MVP award this season, but the chants do show fans are starting to embrace him again.

“It’s good to be on the good side of the Garden,” he said after the game. “It’s definitely a lot better feeling to be on that side.”

Of course, he had to be asked about the 1-year anniversary of the infamous “thumbs down” and he had a sarcastic response ready to go.

“I don’t even remember that, that happened?”

Working in his favor is the fact the Knicks are much improved, and his play is a big reason for it. The Knicks’ highlight of December was an eight-game win streak, and although a five game losing streak followed, New York was able to climb up the standings.

Health is Key

The Knicks have been banged up of late with Jalen Brunson and RJ Barrett both missing time with injuries.

Brunson returned in the win over the Suns, but Barrett remains out with a finger laceration. He’s not expected to miss many more games, and once he returns, the Knicks will have to be hoping he didn’t miss a step.

His trainer Drew Hanlen says a tweak to Barrett’s shot has allowed him to turn a corner and make a big leap from his slow start to the season.

“We made a tweak to his shot Dec 5,” he said in response to a fan question about Barrett. “In the ten games since then, he’s averaging 25/6/3 while shooting 47/45/73.”

He was a big part of the winning streak, so his injury couldn’t have come at a worse time, especially with the Knicks sliding down the standings. They’ve been able to steady themselves in Barrett’s absence, but it’s clear the team is better off with him in the starting lineup.

If Randle can keep up his production and Barrett can come back and continue improving, the Knicks should finish better than the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference.