He didn’t know what he was getting into when he handed this column over to me, one of the top five most improved human beings on the face of the Earth.
He didn’t know that I could barely read in 10th grade, but that my diligence and perseverance has make me grammar better so much.
He couldn’t possibly have known that I successfully debated Mookie Blaylock’s candidacy for Most Improved Player in week three of the 1994-95 NBA season in my third grade reading class, even though the question was, “What’s your favorite dinosaur?”
That my high school basketball coach described my suffocating defense as “…improved,” or that I was named “Most Likely to Improve his Hygiene” as a high school senior.
It’s not like he or Chris Bernucca were doing a bad job with these rankings. In fact, they were outstanding. They went deep inside the numbers, followed the statistical trends and came up with on-the-money candidates for the league’s “Most Improved Player” each week.
But again, this is about improvement, and it’s hard to argue that the addition of me makes this column an immediate candidate for “Most Improved Weekly Column about Most Improved Player Rankings.”
That’s because, if you really want to talk about improvement during the 2012-13 season, you have to start with the Charlotte Bobcats.
MJ’s team was so bad last season that coach Paul Silas looked like he was going to mug Tyrus Thomas, steal his jersey and start boxing people out himself. This season, though, the Bobcats are competitive, and the main reason for that has been the play of Kemba Walker.
It’s not just the 17.4 points per game Walker is posting (up from 13.3 last season), or the 6.1 assists (up from 4.8). Walker has taken over in late-game situations, guiding the otherwise shiftless Bobcats to close wins over Washington, Toronto, Milwaukee, Minnesota, Dallas and Indiana. Charlotte doesn’t win any of those games with Rookie Kemba at the helm.
So, the addition of Walker is one of the changes I’ve made. Are the rankings themselves really improved? Who knows? The one thing I do know is, they’re filled with complete sentences.
On to the rankings.