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Magic’s Ryan Anderson named NBA’s Most Improved Player

May 4, 2012, 1:40 PM EDT

Ryan Anderson

UPDATE 1:40 pm: It’s official, Ryan Anderson is your NBA’s Most Improved Player.

As I said below, Anderson deserves some kudos for continuing good production this season as his minutes jumped from bench guy to starter. Not everyone can do that. Whether or not you think that should make him MIP depends on how you choose to define the most murky of NBA awards.

Here are the top five vote getters:

Ryan Anderson, Orlando (260 points)
Ersan Ilyasova, Milwaukee (159)
Nikola Pekovic, Minnesota (104)
Greg Monroe, Detroit (96)
Andrew Bynumn, Los Angeles Lakers (96)

As a sign of how screwed up the criteria for this award are, Tony Parker got a vote.

9:58 am: The Orlando Magic have called a press conference for 1:30 p.m. Friday for a “major announcement.” And we know they haven’t suddenly traded Dwight Howard.

At this time of the year it means someone will win an award — Ryan Anderson will be named the league’s Most Improved Player. Orlando Sentinel columnist Brian Schmitz has confirmed it. Anderson can start clearing off space on the mantle, or trophy case, or wherever he wants to put it.

Anderson fits the mold of players who often win this award — he didn’t so much improve as maintain his level of play as his minutes jumped from backup to starter levels. Last season he shot 43 percent, this season 43.9 percent. Last season and this season he shot 39.3 percent from three. His rebounding rate (percentage of rebounds grabbed while on the floor) and usage rate (percentage of offense he used while on floor) remained close to previous levels.

What changed is he went from playing 22 minutes a game coming off the bench to 32 minutes a game as a starter. So he went from scoring 10.6 to 16.1 points per game.

A lot of players see their efficiency drop when that happens, Anderson deserves a lot of credit for not letting this happen. Anderson is an often underrated, quality player. He is the league’s best stretch four (unless you count Dirk Nowitzki as one) and Stan Van Gundy used him very well. He knows his game and plays within himself, makes smart decisions and would fit on just about any team.

Anderson is a deserving winner of the award. I’m not a huge fan of the award in general because I think there needs to be some criteria for what we are looking for, but as it is Anderson deserves recognition. A lot of guys struggle when given a bigger role on a good team (which the Magic were until the Howard debacle) and he stepped up.

  1. karlton2 - May 4, 2012 at 10:16 AM

    It’s always a great timing to give a regular season award to a guy as he’s laying an egg in the playoffs.

  2. tigers182 - May 4, 2012 at 10:26 AM

    over Greg Monroe?!

    • slopmcflop - May 4, 2012 at 12:48 PM

      I think the “Most Improved” award is reserved for guys that have been kicking it around in the league for a few years, then making the most of an opportunity, or “getting it” and making a splash.

      Less so for rookies that are still learning the NBA game.

  3. zblott - May 4, 2012 at 12:46 PM

    Naming Ryan Anderson fulfills the age-old NBA tradition of giving the MIP award to someone who didn’t improve his actual abilities (ex: FG%, Reb%) but who simply was given more minutes and shots. That’s great he could maintain 44% FG, 39% 3FG, 55% eFG, and 14% Reb% (2 of those 4 actually dropped a little bit from last year) over more minutes, but the award should go to someone who not only got more minutes, but also got better.

    Someone like Nikola Pekovic, who was 2nd in the league this past season in both FG% and Offensive Rebound%. Check out his massive improvement:

    http://www.behindthebasket.com/btb/2012/4/26/nba-season-awards.html

  4. nightrain42 - May 4, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    I think Bynum shld hve gotten it.

    • biasedhomer - May 4, 2012 at 1:33 PM

      I would agree, but maybe its because he’s finally healthy?

  5. 00maltliquor - May 4, 2012 at 2:29 PM

    Ummm… Nikola Pekovic anyone?? Hell, even Jeremy Lin!

  6. ezmagic - May 4, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    It’s the most improved from last to this season. Bynum has had a good year but it’s only cause he’s been healthy most of the way. His stats are about the same

    • moseskkim - May 4, 2012 at 6:37 PM

      Uh his stats are not the same.. Sure he hasn’t been injured but he’s gotten more minutes. Lack of depth especially without odom caused the lakers to play their big 3 big minutes all year. Bynum was a very good center before this year and now is right up there with d12. That’s a huge improvement.

  7. mungman69 - May 4, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    Evan Turner

  8. raidmagic - May 4, 2012 at 6:37 PM

    Congrats Ryan!! Now quit going all Lebron-in-the-4th quarter on us in these playoffs…
    I guess you can look at it as a sign of respect that theyare so focused on you defensively as the best way to beat the Magic

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