Trans. Apr 23 10:05 ET (Apr 23 10:05 ET ) It’s not surprising that Paul George won the Most Improved Player award, because the Indiana Pacers swingman saw his per game averages shoot up by over five points per game, with a 3.7 per game uptick in combined assists/rebounds in 2012-13. All of this work, and all of the MIP voting , came before Sunday’s fantastic triple-double effort in Indiana’s win over the Atlanta Hawks in the first game of the Pacers’ postseason. On top of that, George has remained a stalwart and at times dominant defender in Indiana’s league-leading defensive attack – Paul led the NBA with 6.3 Defensive Win Shares this season, a statistic that weighs heavily on minutes per game (explaining teammate Roy Hibbert’s fifth-place ranking).
What is surprising is the near unanimity in which George was chosen. The man received a shocking (to me, at least) 52 first place votes, exactly as many as the second through fifth-place MIP contenders (in order: Greivis Vasquez, Larry Sanders, Nikola Vucevic, Jrue Holiday) received.
We’re not bashing George’s numbers in the wake of increased minutes and increased responsibility – it’s just fine that his shooting percentages went down this year in the wake from Danny Granger’s absence, and his defensive acumen made him a deserved All-Star – we’re just questioning the Most Improved Player vote. And, worse, the one-sidedness of what should have been a very close contest with George possibly rounding out the top five.
COMMENTARY | In a season that was more about player development than wins and losses, several young New Orleans Hornets made great strides on the court. PG Greivis Vasquez became the Hornets' unquestioned leader and he is now in the running for the NBA's 2013 Most Improved Player award. Evidence of Vasquez's outstanding play is the fact that he led the NBA in assists with 704.
COMMENTARY | Greivis Vasquez is one of the most polarizing New Orleans Hornets on the 2012-13 roster. Vasquez has legions of fans who point to his league-leading assists numbers and the possibility of him winning the 2013 NBA Most Improved Player Award.