Taj Gibson: Julius Randle belongs 'at the top' of MVP race
New York Knicks center Taj Gibson (67) and forward Julius Randle (30) react in the second half against the Sacramento Kings at Madison Square Garden.  POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

Taj Gibson: Julius Randle belongs 'at the top' of MVP race

The New York Knicks have been the most pleasant surprise in the NBA this season, as they have defied expectations and even clinched their first winning since 2013 by beating the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night. Julius Randle has been the leader for New York all year and teammate Taj Gibson says that his performance should earn him serious MVP consideration

"At the top as well," Gibson said of where Randle belongs in the MVP race. "You look at the body of work that Julius put together on a night-to-night basis... People don't understand how tough it is to play in New York and bring the winning mentality back to the Knicks."

Randle is putting together the most impressive season by a Knicks player since Carmelo Anthony nearly a decade ago, as the 26-year-old is averaging 24.2 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 5.9 assists per game this season. He is widely considered a lock for Most Improved Player but he has managed to work his way into the MVP conversation as well, though he is unlikely to dethrone Nikola Jokic, who has clearly established himself as the favorite.

With only seven games left in the season for the Knicks, they look like they will not have to participate in the play-in tournament, as they are three games ahead of the Boston Celtics, who currently hold the seventh seed.

Blake Harper is a writer based in New York. He's originally from San Diego and is one of the few Chargers fans left. He doesn't believe in ties and loves elaborate celebrations. Follow him on Twitter @beezyharps 

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