There were a lot of different directions voters could go with the Most Improved player award. Blake Griffin raised his game from “freak athlete” to “elite power forward” if you want to go that route. Guys like Gerald Green in Phoenix finally had his game mature and he flourished in Phoenix. There were a whole lot of other options.
But the one thing everyone seemed to agree on is Goran Dragic should be on the list.
The Phoenix point guard ran away with the Most Improved Player award. He easily outdistanced second place Lance Stephenson of Indiana and third place’s Anthony Davis of New Orleans in the voting.
For his career Dragic averaged 9.5 points a game and there were questions about how he would blend with Eric Bledsoe in the backcourt.
The answer was very well — those two were a force together that propelled Phoenix to 48 wins (which left them a game out of the playoffs in the Western Conference, but would have been tied for third best in the East).
Dragic finished the season averaging a career-best 20.3 points per game, plus averaged 5.9 assists and 3.2 rebounds a night.
Dragic becomes the third Suns player to win the award, joining Kevin Johnson (1988-89) and Boris Diaw (2005-06).
While I think you can make a good case for a lot of guys to get votes, there were some interesting choices out there from the 125 media members who voted for the award. LeBron James did improve parts of his game, but was he really the second most improved? Robin Lopez? Sean Livingston might have won this award if it was still the “comeback player of the year” but he’s doing what he’s done for a couple years, just on a bigger stage. Mike Conley has been very good for a couple years.
Here is a voting breakdown. The media member votes are public so if you want to see who voted for whom follow this link.
Player (team) total points (first place votes, if any)
Goran Dragic (Phoenix) 408 (65)
Lance Stephenson (Indiana) 158 (13)
Anthony Davis (New Orleans) 155 (16)
Gerald Green (Phoenix) 117 (16)
DeAndre Jordan (L.A. Clippers) 66 (4)
Kyle Lowry (Toronto) 43 (2)
Blake Griffin (L.A. Clippers) 39 (6)
DeMar DeRozan (Toronto) 28 (1)
Patty Mills (San Antonio) 14
Markieff Morris (Phoenix) 13 (1)
Isaiah Thomas (Sacramento) 13
Shaun Livingston (Brooklyn) 11
D.J. Augustin (Chicago) 9 (1)
Reggie Jackson (Oklahoma City) 8
Robin Lopez (Portland) 6
Klay Thompson (Golden Stat2) 6
DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento) 5
Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City) 5 (1)
Al Jefferson (Charlotte) 4
Bradley Beal (Washington) 3
Mike Conley (Memphis) 3
Andre Drummond (Detroit) 3
Taj Gibson (Chicago) 3
LeBron James (Miami) 3
Terrence Jones (Houston) 3
Jodie Meeks (L.A. Lakers) 3
LaMarcus Aldridge (Portland) 1
Alec Burks (Utah) 1
Paul Millsap (Atlanta) 1
Chandler Parsons (Houston) 1
John Wall (Washington) 1