The Suns finally won something! Goran Dragic wins the NBA’s Most Improved Player award which begins the recognition for the Suns spectacular season.
So far, the Suns had missed out on the playoffs (barely, practically by a single game), defensive player of the year (didn’t think we’d win that one), and coach of the year (Hornacek came in second to the Spur’s Popovich. Thought we’d win that one. That one stings). It was about time the Suns won an award like this.
In my humble opinion, definitely Gerald Green and possibly Markieff Morris deserved the award more, but I can see the voters’ point of view.
When judging this award, there are different ways to view it. One can go for the “good to great” metric, where a known player really steps up his game in all spheres. Another way is to take a player who was (practically) out of the league and improved his game to make a team’s rotation. I tend to go the latter route.
Whichever way you lean, there are a couple rules you should follow. A top-ten player in the draft should never get it unless he was a bust and turned it around later in his career. Also, the award shouldn’t be given to someone who has been in the league less than three years. They are SUPPOSED to drastically improve their game in the first few years in the league.
I thought Gerald Green (NBA veteran and journeyman, who recently got cut from a Chinese team and broke out this year) and Markieff Morris (who I thought was a bust, and whose shot selection was abysmal, but turned it around) were better picks for most improved player. Dragic was already the best player on the Suns last year, and since I tend to go for the nobody-to-somebody angle, thought they would win over Dragic.
However, I see how the NBA voters voted for him. He increased his scoring output from 14.7 to 20.3 points per game. He increased his field goal percentage from decent (.443) to elite (.505). The same thing happened to his three-point field goal percentage (.319 to .408).
Us here in Phoenix knew how special the Dragon was, but the NBA didn’t. For them, Dragic broke out of the shadows into the NBA’s shining light. And Isn’t that what the award is all about anyway!