7. Kyle Anderson– Last season: PPG 3.4/RPG 2.4/APG 1.3/SPG 0.7/BPG 0.4/FG% .445
This season: PPG 7.9/RPG 5.4/APG 2.7/SPG 1.6/BPG 0.8/FG% .527
Although none of his numbers jump out at you, Anderson has proved this year that he can ball. He is very well rounded, and has made some great improvements on both sides of the floor. He’s not going to come out and score 40 on you, but he can score the ball when he needs to, facilitate, grab boards, and play great defense. He was a huge relief for the Spurs after losing Kawhi Leonard for the year. I can definitely see Kyle becoming a respected two way player in the near future.
6. Clint Capela– Last season: PPG 12.6/RPG 8.1/SPG 0.5/BPG 1.2/FT% .531/FG% .643
This season: PPG 13.9/RPG 10.3/SPG 0.8/BPG 1.9/FT% .560/FG% .652
One of the biggest reason I jumped Capela to the 6th spot over the likes of some of the honorable mentions below was the fact he averaged a double double this year. He tied with Giannis Antetokounmpo for 8th most double doubles this season. He had more double doubles than Embiid, Jokic, Ben Simmons, James Harden, Rudy Gobert, Hassan Whiteside, and Steven Adams. His Improvement in blocks was impressive as well.
5. Aaron Gordon– Last season: PPG 12.7/RPG 5.1/APG 1.9/SPG 0.8/BPG 0.5/3PT% .288
This season: PPG 17.6/RPG 7.9/APG 2.3/SPG 1.0/BPG 0.8/3PT% .336
Gordon was was first recognized for taking second place in the 2016 slam dunk contest against Zach Lavine. People were saying at the time that all he could do is dunk. I think that criticism helped develop a chip on his shoulder as he came back the following summer a much improved player. From his ball handling to his three point shooting he has become more rounded. He reminds me a lot of Blake Griffin.
4. Jonathan Simmons– Last season: PPG 6.2/RPG 2.1/APG 1.6/SPG 0.6/FG% .420/FT%.750/3PT% .294
This season: PPG 13.9/RPG 3.5/APG 2.5/SPG 0.8/FG% .465/FT% .768/3PT% .338
Simmons emerged in his rookie season as a legitimate role player with the San Antonio Spurs. He was un-drafted and even paid $150 to try out for the team. After his first year the Orlando magic offered him a 3 year contract worth $20 million. (Now thats what I call investing in your self!) With an injury plagued magic team this season, Simmons proved he could be even more than a role player and improved in almost every category.
3. Spencer Dinwiddie– Last season: PPG 7.3/RPG 2.8/APG 3.1/SPG 0.7/FT% .792
This season: PPG 12.6/RPG 3.2/APG 6.6/SPG 0.9/FT% .813
With an early season injury to D’Angelo Russell, Dinwiddie stepped up and really showed that he could be a playmaker. He even participated in All-star weekend and came away with some hardware, winning the skills challenge against some pretty good competition. I am most impressed with his improvement in assists per game.
2. Brandon Ingram– Last season: PPG 9.4/RPG 4.0/APG 2.1/SPG 0.6/BPG 0.5/FG% .402/FT% .621/3PT% .294
This season: PPG 16.1/RPG 5.3/APG 3.9/SPG 0.8/BPG 0.7/FG% .470/FT% .681/3PT% .390
When Ingram was first drafted by the lakers the comparisons coming from all directions were saying he was the next Kevin Durant. After his rookie season wasn’t what everyone expected, some doubts began to set in. After this season those uncertainties were silenced. As he may not be the next KD, he improved drastically across the board and instilled some of that belief back into critics and fans that he still could meet those high expectations one day. Look at that three point percentage improvement!
1. Victor Oladipo– Last season: PPG 15.9/RPG 4.3/APG 2.6/SPG 1.1/BPG 0.3/FG% .442/FT% .753/3PT% .361
This season: PPG 23.1/RPG 5.2/APG 3.1/SPG 2.4/BPG 0.8/FG% .477/FT% .799/3PT% .371
I wanted so badly to find a reason to award the #1 spot to someone other than Victor Oladipo. I knew his game had improved drastically, but maybe there was someone who improved more. I was wrong. After doing the research, I found that the hype is real. He literally improved his game in every aspect, and there is no doubt that he deserves this spot, and the 2017-2018 Most improved player of the year award. The stats alone say enough, but he also became a franchise cornerstone to build around for the future. The Pacers could have lost Paul George for nothing, but got another franchise star in the making instead.
Honorable mentions in no particular order: Kris Dunn, Domantas Sabonis, Kristaps porzingis, and Tyreke Evans, Terry Rozier, Fred VanVleet, Bobby Portis, Joe Ingles, Dejounte Murray, Garry Haris, Austin Rivers, and Julius Randle.
Featured photo credit: nba.com