The 2012/13 NBA season has been a ‘breakout’ season for a number of individuals, and with the second half of the season upon us, it is time to take a look at the top 10 candidates for the ‘Most Improved Player’ of the year award.
1. Jrue Holiday
In the absence of Andrew Bynum this season, the 76′ers have truly been this young guards team to lead and he has done it extremely well.
2. James Harden
Perhaps the most publicised and talked about candidate, Harden is leading the Rockets to what may be a playoff appearance this season. He has answered his critiques and truly stood up to lead the Houston Rockets as their number one option.
3. Paul George
With Danny Granger missing much of the season due to injury many held question marks over the Pacers, well this third placed Eastern Conference team answered all the question with authority as Paul George stood up and took over this team.
4. J.J Hickson
Hickson was waved by the Kings last season, and as the Trail Blazers acquired him many believed he would back up the pf position coming off the bench for them and playing limited minutes. Well those assumptions could not have been more wrong as this 24 year old 6’9 big man stepped in to the role of starting center and the Blazers never looked back.
5. Omer Asik
Omer Asik Played limited minutes off the bench for the Bulls, and when the Rockets acquired him on what seemed like a generous contract many doubted he could produce as a starting center. Well the risk paid off for the Rockets because Asik has stamped his mark on the league as a legitimate starting center.
6. Greivis Vasquez
The Hornets acquired Austin Rivers in the 2012/13 draft, believing he would improve the issues they held in the pg position. They did not foresee the unbelievable improvement Vasquez has shown this season.
7. Nikola Vucevic
The Magic acquired this Young Center in what looked to be a poor outcome for them, however with multiple 20 plus rebound performances this season it looks to be paying off for Orlando.
8. Nikola Pekovic
As Pekovic enters this summer as a restricted free agent he is having a career season on both ends of the floor and has benefited greatly from Kevin Loves absence throughout the 2012/13 season.
9. Larry Sanders
Serge ‘Iblaka’ is no more, and that is for one reason and one reason only! Larry Sanders is an impressive and extremely athletic 6’11 Bucks pf/c who is leading the NBA in blocks per game, and doing it relatively limited minutes.
10. Anderson Verajao
Although the Cavaliers Big Man has suffered what is likely to be a season ending injury/illness (blood clot in his lower right lung), making him relatively ineligible to win this award! I believe he deserves an honourable mention in the top ten candidates, as he was leading the league in rebounds per game prior to his unfortunate illness.
It truly is a hard fought and tough race to becoming the ‘Most Improved Player’ this season. Multiple players are more than deserving of the individual accolades, and only time will tell who takes home the award. A strong finish to the season may determine this one for the fans.
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