Friday , Apr , 01 , 2011 J.N.

The 2011 NBA Most Improved Player is…

This race is actually a lot closer and tougher to call than the MVP one. The Most Improved Player award should probably be considered the poor man’s MVP trophy, which is not a bad thing. There are 3 contenders this year with a possible fourth. I thought the most improved player was easy to figure out. That is why barely anyone is discussing it; just look at who increased their numbers the most from the previous season, right? Is it really that simple? I’m not sure now.

Who are the three players with a possible fourth? Here they are:

Kevin Love
(2009-2010) 60 games, 28.6 MPG, FG .450, 3PT .330, FT .815, 11 rebs, 2.3 assists, 14 points
(2010-2011) Through 72 games, 35.8 MPG, FG .470, 3PT .419, FT. 851, 15.3 rebs, 2.5 assists, 20.3 points

Russell Westbrook
(2009-2010) 82 games, 34.3 MPG, FG .418, 3PT .221, FT .780, 4.9 rebs, 8 assists, 1.3 STL, 16.1 points
(2010-2011) Through 73 games, 35 MPG, FG .443, 3PT .352, FT. 842, 4.6 rebs, 8.3 assists, 1.8 STL, 22.1 points

LaMarcus Aldridge
(2009-2010) 78 games, 37.5 MPG, FG .495, 3PT .313, FT .757, 8 rebs, 2.1 assists, 0.9 STL, 0.6 BLK, 17.9 points
(2010-2011) Through 74 games, 39.7 MPG, FG .498, 3PT .182, FT .787, 8.6 rebs, 2.1 assists, 1 STL, 1.2 BLK, 21.9 points

Derrick Rose
(2009-2010) 78 games, 36.8 MPG, FG .489, 3PT .267, FT .766, 3.7 rebs, 5.9 assists, 0.7 STL, 0.3 BLK, 20.3 points
(2010-2011) Through 72 games, 37.5 MPG, FG .440, 3PT .329, FT .852, 4.2 rebs, 7.9 assists, 1 STL, 0.6 BLK, 25 points

On Derrick Rose:
Derrick Rose will not win the award because he is the MVP frontrunner. It is weird to have the Most Improved win Most Valuable. That’s just awkward, but he should be mentioned just on the strength that he really did improve statistically in most categories. He also has the highest win share total among the candidates. There – he gets credit as the fourth guy. That is all.

On LaMarcus Aldridge:
He became the team’s unanimous franchise player after Roy’s downfall because of numerous injuries. Aldridge is leading them to a playoff berth in the competitive West despite of that. The team is rallying around him. Yes, LMA was probably snubbed of an All Star spot. The outcome is that he’s using that to play inspired ball to prove people they were wrong. Good stuff. He also improved across the board. Currently, Aldridge is the leader in “adjusted +/-“at 16.88.

On Russell Westbrook:
He’s a great sidekick to Kevin Durant. Westbrook improved dramatically across, too. Hey, he even is considered by some people as the MVP candidate over Durant. And I wouldn’t blame them. Every important statistic increased such as points, assists, steals, 3 point percentage, field goal percentage, etc.

On Kevin Love:
The kid has been a statistical truck this season; 53 straight games of double-doubles and 31 points, 31 rebounds against the New York Knicks. He also became an All Star giving Minnesota Wolves fans something to cheer about.


Rose should be the winner because he improved the most. He has the highest win share among these guys, but win share is not the de facto answer. I looked at a lot of things besides win shares. Let’s keep this simple and stick with building block numbers from last year and this year. He improved everywhere.

At first glance, Kevin Love made the quantum leap in points and rebounds.  He was rewarded for his improvement and that is the first All Star appearance.

Aldridge became Portland’s franchise and landed in my top 10 NBA MVP list late in the season, not just because of his improvements and adjusted +/-, but also leading the Blazers to a playoff spot. LaMarcus can be in my top 3 NBA MVP discussion next year if Portland can win more games and LMA shows more improvement.

This is more exciting than the MVP race. I really can’t tell who the MIP is. It is actually between Love, Westbrook, and Aldridge. The race is too close and too good to call. Wow. I understand if Love wins it. He has a great case, too.

The guy who gets my vote is Russell Westbrook since he made more improvements than Love and Aldridge.



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