Last week, we introduced you to Most Improved Player Madness with a special three-page blowout edition of the Rankings. I sense a lot of excitement out there about Week 2.
So without further adieu, we present to you the Most Improved Sweet 16! Let it fill your senses with indescribable excitement and joy!
1. Paul George vs.
5. Jeff Teague
RECAP: Teague and his 7 assists per game give George a run for his money, but the Pacers forward is too much of a juggernaut to fall in the second round. He advances to the Elite Eight.
2. Larry Sanders vs.
6. Jose Calderon
RECAP: You know that Geico commercial where Dikembe Mutombo justs starts swatting everything in sight? They’re going to be making one of those about Larry Sanders one day. He moves on to the Duckworth Regional Final.
1. Jrue Holiday vs.
4. Serge Ibaka
RECAP: Holiday has been a one-man show for the Sixers this season, and he edges Ibaka here because the rest of his sad-sack teammates can’t figuratively run out onto the court during the game and trip him. At least I don’t think they can. I probably need to go over the rules again.
2. Chandler Parsons vs.
3. Tristan Thompson
RECAP: This one has that buzzer-beater type of feel to it, and Parsons knows a thing or two about buzzer beaters. See below. He moves on.
8. Kevin Murphy vs.
5 LeBron James
RECAP: The matchup we’ve all been waiting for. It’s the Cinderella Man, Kevin Murphy, against LBJ, the most electrifying man in sports entertainment. Murphy advanced to the second round in an historic upset over Omer Asik in Round 1, while LeBron bulldozed his way past Eric Bledsoe. And while Murphy being on an NBA roster after a year in the NBDL does classify as “improvement,” LeBron moves on because the Heat may never lose again.
2. Greivis Vasquez vs.
3. David Lee
RECAP: Vasquez edges out Lee in a game that was closer than expected. He moves on to the Gheorghe P. Muresan Regional Final, which unbeknownst to Gheorghe, is scheduled for 8 p.m. next Saturday in his living room. I hope he’s not home.
1. Nikola Vucevic vs.
4. Joakim Noah
RECAP: You can’t stop Nikola Vucevic. You can only hope to contain him. He moves on in this matchup of beastly big men in the aptly-named Rony Seikaly Region.
2. Kemba Walker vs.
3. Stephen Curry
RECAP: Curry has been on a historic tear, but as we saw in college, you don’t bet against Kemba Walker in a tournament. Walker gives him one of his patented step-back moves and J’s one right in his grill at the buzzer. Nothing but net. The crowd goes wild! Ahhhh!!! This is almost an upset, but Walker advances to the Elite Eight.
We’ll have more madness next week, not that anyone cares. For now it’s on to the rankings.