Breaking news from the NBA awards zone, courtesy of Pacers.com even though I’m guessing you can figure it out based on that splash page and post title up there:
Paul George was announced as the winner of this season’s Most Improved Player award Tuesday at a press conference at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
George becomes the fourth Pacer to win the honor, following Jalen Rose (2000), Jermaine O’Neal (2002) and Danny Granger (2009). The Pacers have had more players win the honor, which was first awarded in 1986, than any other NBA team except Orlando, which has had five winners: Scott Skiles, Darrell Armstrong, Tracy McGrady, Hedo Turkoglu and Ryan Anderson.
The common thread among the Pacers’ four MIP’s is that they came to the franchise at a bargain price, and raised their scoring averages by at least five points per game the year they won the award.
Congratulations, Paul George. You’re the winner of the Most Improved Player award by way of the Kevin Love memorial good player becomes great clause. Not sure what I’m talking about? Check Paulie G’s per 36 minutes and advanced stats from the past two seasons, via Basketball-Reference.
So basically, Paul George is the exact same player he was during his breakout 2011-12 campaign, only now he has a lower shooting percentage because he has far greater offensive responsibilities now that Danny Granger is working full-time on his Batcave. Every one of his shooting percentages are down, whether standard or advanced, and he didn’t really do anything else significantly better this season while also shooting far more often.
But he’s your MIP this year, largely because of that added offensive responsibility. He’s averaging five more points, two more assists and two more rebounds on a per game basis, which is great, but is also mostly due to his playing an additional eight minutes a game now that he’s a grownup and the Pacers’ one good perimeter player. Going from non-All-Star to first time of many All-Star didn’t hurt either. Not to mention, the one bold number on this season’s advanced stats ledger — defensive win shares — that coincides with Indiana becoming this season’s No. 1 defense. Mix those things together and you’ve got your MIP.
Let’s hear what you guys think of this choice. I think Paul George is a deserving player who probably didn’t deserve to win this year, but I’m also not going to get upset about it because it’s the NBA’s worst award. Comment away.