Lakers News: Julius Randle Finishes 5th For 2017-18 NBA Most Improved Player Award
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers forward Julius Randle finished fifth in voting for the 2017-18 NBA Most Improved Player Award. The fourth-year forward received nine second-place votes and nine third-place votes en route to 36 total points from media members.

Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo (499 points) won the award. He defeated Houston Rockets center Clint Capela (99), Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie (50) and Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond (46).

For Randle, the 2017-18 NBA season provided challenges that forced him to take the next step in his development. After transforming his body during the offseason, Randle did not receive a contract extension and was not part of the team’s starting lineup.

While the 23-year-old initially struggled with the situation, he eventually embraced his role as the team’s small-ball center, averaging 12.5 points and 6.3 rebounds in 33 games off the bench.

Nearing the midpoint of the season, Randle was inserted into the starting lineup as Los Angeles struggled with injuries and wins. Along with averaging 18.6 points and 9.1 rebounds in 49 starts, the Lakers had their best stretch, winning 12 out of 16 games to begin the new year.

Led by Randle’s improvement in Year 4, the Lakers won 35 games for the first time since the 2012-13 season, which was a nine-game improvement from last season.

Randle’s teammate, Brandon Ingram, received three total points after averaging 16.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 3.9 assists. Ingram likely would’ve garnered more votes had he not missed time due to injuries.

Kyle Kuzma finished fourth in voting for the NBA Rookie of the Year Award, which predictably went to Philadelphia 76ers forward Ben Simmons.

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