Trail Blazers’ C.J. McCollum wins Most Improved Player award

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This was one of the locks during the NBA’s award season.

Portland’s C.J. McCollum was thrust into a much larger role with the Portland Trail Blazers — his minutes more than doubled, his usage rate leapt up (from near 20 to 27), and his scoring jumped from 6.8 to 20.8 points per game. What was most impressive was McCollum’s efficiency improved despite the increased load — his true shooting percentage went from a league average 53.4 percent last season to 54.4 percent this season.

That earned McCollum the NBA’s Most Improved Player award, securing 101 of the 130 first-place votes cast by selected media members. Some years this award can go to a guy who just got more minutes, but McCollum earned it.

Kemba Walker came in second, Giannis Antetokounmpo third, and Stephen Curry fourth in the voting (there had been a push from some in the media to give the MVP the MIP also).

Here’s a little video highlight package the Trail Blazers put together for the occasion.

Here is the complete voting order (with first place votes in parenthesis):

CJ McCollum, Portland (101)
Kemba Walker, Charlotte (7)
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee (4)
Stephen Curry, Golden State (7)
Will Barton, Denver (1)
Jae Crowder, Boston (1)
Draymond Green, Golden State (2)
Isaiah Thomas, Boston (3)
Hassan Whiteside, Miami (1)
Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio (1)
Andre Drummond, Detroit (1)
Gary Harris, Denver (1) — 1 6
Kent Bazemore, Atlanta
Evan Fournier, Orlando
Rodney Hood, Utah
Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City
Reggie Jackson, Detroit
Ian Mahinmi, Indiana
Zach LaVine, Minnesota
Kyle Lowry, Toronto