PBT Awards: Most Improved Player

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Though none of us have a ballot for the NBA’s official awards, we’ll be presenting our choices and making our cases this week for each major honor.

Kurt Helin

1. Jimmy Butler, Chicago Bulls

2. Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors

3. Hassan Whiteside, Miami Heat

Well done, Jimmy Butler. If you’re going to have a breakout year, do it in a contract year. He will get PAID this summer (by the way Bulls, he’s not leaving).

Brett Pollakoff

1. Jimmy Butler

2. Draymond Green

3. Rudy Gobert

Butler’s breakout season makes him a somewhat easy choice, while Green has been a key cog in the Warriors’ machine, and has done so on both ends of the floor. Gobert’s massive improvement has translated to the Jazz being one of the tougher teams to deal with defensively in the second half of the season.

And though Whiteside has been impressive, he misses my cut for (a) only appearing in 47 games this season, and (b) not even being in the league last season, which technically means there was nothing to improve upon year-over-year from an NBA standpoint.

Sean Highkin

1. Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors

2. Hassan Whiteside, Miami Heat

3. Jimmy Butler, Chicago Bulls

Green and Butler set themselves up for huge offseason paydays, with Green becoming the Warriors’ Swiss Army knife at both ends of the floor and Butler finally becoming a consistent offensive threat in addition to his defensive acumen. If they still handed out Comeback Player of the Year, Whiteside would run away with it — not only was he out of the league, he wasn’t even on anybody’s radar to be brought back until the Heat took a flyer on him.

Dan Feldman

1. Jimmy Butler, Chicago Bulls

2. Hassan Whiteside, Miami Heat

3. Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz

This was a deep year for Most Improved player with Klay Thompson, Khris Middleton, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Draymond Green also making huge strides. Butler gets the edge, because he went from good to true star – a more difficult jump – and did so when the injury-riddled Bulls really needed someone to step up. Whiteside’s improvement was more personal than on the court, but his maturation led to his breakout on the floor. Gobert barely looked playable last season, and now he’s a force.