Ryan Anderson Wins NBA’s Most Improved Player Award

by May 04, 2012
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Reports out of Orlando say Ryan Anderson—once a throw-in as part of the Vince Carter-to-Orlando trade—has been named the NBA’s 2011-12 Most Improved Player. Matt Moore of CBS Sports has the details: “The Orlando Magic have announced a 1:30 p.m. press conference without a subject for Friday afternoon. This time of year that either means a coach firing, a coach hiring, or an award. In this case, Brian Schmidt of the Orlando Sentinel confirms that Ryan Anderson has won the Most Improved Player Award for 2012. Anderson was widely considered the frontrunner for most of the season and that’s basically how he took it, as his season averages evened out by the end of the year. His points per 36 minutes only increased by .9, his rebounds per 36 by only .4 and his field goal percentage by only .9 percentage points. That’s right, a guy known for his improved shooting didn’t even shoot one whole percentge point better. It gets worse when we look at his percentage of team wide production. Anderson’s rebound percentage actually dropped year over year, as did his TrueShooting Percentage. So the stats, they are not kind to Anderson’s “improvement.” That said, Anderson arguably made more of an impact than any other candidate. He was the stabilizing force on a topsy-turvy year for the Magic, and became the primary scoring option for long stretches with Dwight Howard either out or in a funk. He earned more minutes and more shots, so that has to be taken into account. Jeremy Lin barely qualified for the award considering games played, Nikola Pekovic was likely worthy but simply didn’t get noticed until late in the year and played for a woeful team once Rubio was out (fair or not), and Ersan Ilyasova, well, there’s not really a good argument against Ilyasova considering they were in playoff contention until the very end of the year and Ilyasova became a legitimate weapon. Still, Anderson took on a larger role, produced for a playoff team, and has won MIP. Congrats to Anderson.”