As the playoffs approach, the biggest surprise of the season is likely the success of the New York Knicks. For the first time since 2013, the Knicks have reached the postseason and they did so without a true superstar leading the team.
In place of a superstar, the team is led on the court by Julius Randle and head coach Tom Thibodeau. Both of whom fans believe will finish the season with an individual award. 69% of fans around the league believe Randle should win the 2020-21 Most Improved Player award. The next closest player, Michael Porter Jr., received 11 percent of the vote. Nine percent of fans nationally voted for Jerami Grant.
That is a disappointing result for Pistons fans, but really should come as no surprise as Randle has really run away from the competition since a little before the All-Star break.
Grant started the season scorching hot out of the gates going from complementary piece to featured scorer with little dip in his efficiency and effectiveness. Eventually, though, the 3s started dropping less frequently, the players around him became younger and less experienced and by the end of the season, Grant was often in street clothes as Detroit went full tank.
Randle, meanwhile, kept his foot on the gas all season. He’s also turned the Knicks into the biggest turnaround, feel-good story of the year. The Knicks are back, baby. For the first round anyway.
Wood, contrary to popular belief, isn’t really much improved from last year. Statistically, he’s not having nearly as strong a season, but he’s playing a hell of a lot more minutes so his averages are way up.
He’s getting the same 20 and 10 he got in Detroit once Andre Drummond left town, but his 3 ball is not as deadly and he’s having an off year at the free-throw line. Basically, his performance in Houston is exactly what he probably would have been able to accomplish in Detroit considering the supporting cast around him.
I’ll take Jerami Grant, thank you.
But back to the Knicks. While Randle is powering their success on the court, Tom Thibodeau is powering it on the sidelines. He’s doing it in truly Thibodeau-ian fashion by being relentless, meticulous and playing his best players tons of minutes.
In the survey, 50% of national fans believe Thibodeau has earned the Coach of the Year award this season. Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams took 23%.
With the season over, and the tank in full effect, it’s good to see Pistons fans barely wavered in their support.
According to the most recent SB Nation Reacts surve,y a full 100% of responding Pistons fans are confident the team is headed in the right direction. That level of confidence has held steady for the last three weeks.
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