12/20/08

The most improved player debate

Apologies for not posting consistently for a while. I've just finished my wave of finals and what not. Hopefully I will be able to post a lot more consistently than I have been in the coming months.

The MVP debate has not really heated up yet. It is still too close to call. The two most lively debates are the Most Improved Player award and the Rookie of the Year award. On a side note, Lou Williams might be able to challenge Ginobli for the 6th Man award, but he has to play at his current level for the rest of the season which is a long shot. For now, we'll focus on the 3 most improved players in the NBA.

Rajon Rondo: It is not longer the Big 3 in Boston. Rondo has clearly established himself as one of the premier point guards in the league. He is putting up amazing numbers and many won't deny that the reason the Celtics are playing at the level they are at is due in large part to Rondo's play. He has had some amazing games this season that were well publicized, and is averaging 11 ppg and 7.3 assists and shooting an amazing 51% from the field. He is reliable and delivers pretty night after night. We need to remember that Rondo is only 22 years old right now. He is a supreme athlete with long arms who can cut defenses apart, and has incredibly decision making skills. Doc Rivers does not need to worry when the ball is in his hands because he only averages 2.3 turnovers a game. Rondo had his coming out party in the finals last year when he outplayed Derek Fisher in virtually every aspect of the game. He has used that momentum to show that he can help lead this team. There is no question that Rondo is the difference in the Celtics this season, and has helped fill James Posey's shoes.

Brandon Roy: I'm sure you all have heard that Roy dropped 55 last night against the Suns. He has emerged as one of the premier players in the league. Roy is an awesome player to watch. He is one of those players who can do it all, and he is also a player who comes through in the clutch. Roy can play in the post, face up, shoot, pass, and everything in between. He is also a great athlete who has enough strength to create his own shots off the dribble. Roy has helped the Blazers become a legitimate playoff contender. Not only will the Blazers make the playoffs this year, they will be in the middle of the pack which is a big change from the past few seasons where they have struggled to find the 8th seed. Roy is averaging 23.4 ppg and 5.2 assists to help the Blazers to 3rd place in the Western Conference and only a half game behind their division rivals, the Nuggets. There is no doubt that this drastic improvement in performance is a direct effect of Roy's elevated performance. As of now, Roy is my favorite to win the award. I would even go as far to say he is a MVP candidate.

Lou Williams: It might be a little early to consider him for this category, but with Brand going down, he has a chance to prove he belongs. He will be a candidate for 6th man and this category because of the explosive nature of his stats in the past few weeks. He just had a career high tonight against the Wizards with 26 points. Williams was not performing up to expectations earlier this season, but in the recent weeks has turned his game around. Maurice Cheeks will look to him to be their primary scorer off the bench, and in the weeks without Brand, they will look to Williams to be one of their primary scorers in general in Brand's absence. Williams is averaging 10.9 ppg and 2.2 assts, but expect those to dramatically increase in the coming weeks. If Williams and the rest of the 6ers can produce at a high level, it will allow Brand the time he needs to rest, and won't have to rush back to action. Expect Williams to be averaging north of 15ppg in Brand's absence.

Al Harrington: I know no one would even consider him, but doesn't his amazing improvement post-being traded warrant some kind of consideration? The voters should be able to interpret the phrase 'Most Improved Player of the Year" however they wish. He did improve a lot since he has been traded, and has played a key role in making the Knicks competitive. Just a thought.

I do think Danny Granger and Devin Harris are candidates for this award also, but I wrote about them in my top 5 most overachieving players so I didn't want to bore you all with repetitive details.

2 comments:

ochomc4 said...

i hadn't seen some posts, but had to check this one out.

rondo? please. i can name 12 point guards that are better than rondo, unless you consider that still among the league's premier level. i'm tired of this transfer of greatness to rondo just because of the C's record. he's had some good games sure, but he's still a long way off of the league's best.

as for most improved, i'm shocked (to promote my jazz bias) to not see paul millsap's name on this list. i would even consider him the clear front runner if the award were given today. 14 straight double doubles as a relatively unknown player. he's arguably made the biggest jump of improvement. c'mon man, i know the C's are doin well and b-roy just dropped 52, but take a look at some players who didn't come out of some espn article you read

Dmanlian said...

I think Rondo is the most legit out of the players you have listed. He has stepped up his game in every way and can provide consistent production from the point guard position. Louis Williams is doing pretty good now, but too streaky. Brandon Roy has taken his next step in player development, but I don't feel like he is THAT much more improved from last year.

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doubledribbling.blogspot.com

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Thanks,

Dmanlian