Soon after, Giannis Antetokounmpo took home 2017’s Most Improved Player Award.
Antetokounmpo, 22, played his fourth season with the Bucks in 2016-17 averaging 22.9 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 5.4 assists per game. While still not a terrific 3-point shooter, Antetokounmpo took more shots than ever last season while simultaneously upping his field goal percentage. He saw the floor better than ever in 2017, and had a career-high net rating of 12. Likewise, Antetokounmpo’s VORP rose to 6.9.
Playing in 80 games last season, Antetokounmpo helped Milwaukee to a 42–40 finish, good enough for sixth in the Eastern Conference. The Bucks even gave the Toronto Raptors a scare in the playoffs, taking them to six games in the first round.
Antetokounmpo ran away with the award voting, garnering 80 first-place votes out of a possible 100 (the award was voted on by select members of the media). Denver’s Nikola Jokic came in second, followed by Rudy Gobert of Utah, Otto Porter Jr. of Washington, and Isaiah Thomas of the Boston Celtics.
The Bucks obviously have a bright young future, with Antetokounmpo continuing to make the leap that executives in Milwaukee thought that he would when they drafted him No. 15 In 2013.