In case you don’t subscribe to the opinion that this column is one of the five most important literary works of our time, I refer you to Super Bowl XLVII.
If an NFL version of the Most Improved rankings existed, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco would have been a fixture in them. In the past year, Flacco has made the leap from good quarterback on a playoff team to MVP of the Super Bowl champions. An NFL version of this column would have been all over Flacco’s improvement, like that nerd on Bar Refaeli.
You see, it’s important to keep an eye on the up-and-comers. If you don’t, you’ll lose the Super Bowl, or at at least get smoked in that game of one-on-one with your little cousin because you didn’t think he could hit that step-back J in your face for a ninth straight time. (Yeah, that’s for you, Jon! You’re going down next time!)
Some of the guys on our list have made Flacco-like leaps this year, and although none of them will sniff the NBA title (Indiana’s Paul George has the best chance), they’ve all made a lasting impact on the 2012-13 season.
Chicago’s Jimmy Butler has emerged as a defensive dynamo and a double-figure scorer. He crashes the rankings for the first time this week because it would have been criminal not to reward him for such inspiring play.
Rankings-leader Jrue Holiday has kept the Sixers from Bobcats-level suckiness. He’s done everything but sell popcorn and keep the power on in the Wells Fargo Center. (See what I did there?)
If we learned anything on Sunday, it’s that America loves improvement. That’s why we watch the Super Bowl. It’s why we spend time debating things like, “Is Flacco an elite QB now that he’s won a title?” or “Is Kels Dayton the next David Halberstam?”
And that’s also why this column is one of the seminal literary works of our time. It captures the essence of American culture, like that KFC sandwich where the meat is the bun. (Now, that’s improvement).
So sit back, relax, and immerse yourself in this timeless classic. Get ready.
On to the rankings.