It’s been a great time, and I think we’ve all learned a lot.
I know I have.
But now, like middle school gym class, it’s time to separate the men from the boys. So let’s take a look at each candidate, and their chances of winning this most prestigious award.
THE FAVORITES: Isaiah Thomas and Lance Stephenson.
These two have emerged as the top contenders because they’ve gone from relative obscurity to All-Star level talents. Just two years ago, Stephenson was the bench-warming punk who gave LeBron the choke sign. Now, he’s racking up triple-doubles like he is LeBron – posting four this season to the King’s zero. He’s also a terrific defender, capable scorer and willing passer on a team that prides itself on sharing the ball. Well, most of the time anyway.
Thomas has gone from second-round draft pick to one of the best point guards in the West. When DeMarcus Cousins looks down and sees only one pair of footprints in the sand, he knows that Isaiah has been carrying him. The Hustlin’ Husky has scored 38 twice this season and is putting up 24.4 points per game in February. He looks like the only guy on the Kings with a pulse.
THE LEGACY: Anthony Davis.
I like to think of Davis’ candidacy like a trust fund kid who flunked out of college and is now rising up the ranks in his daddy’s Fortune 500 company. Everyone knew he was going to be successful, so we shouldn’t act like we’re surprised. Sure, Davis had some issues with injuries last season, but at 6-10 with an (approximately) 500-foot wingspan and the mobility of a guard, it’s not shocking he’s doing well. Still, stats-wise, he’s clearly one of the most improved players in the league from last season, and that’s why he’s in the hunt.
THE BIG MEN: Andre Drummond and DeAndre Jordan.
Drummond and Jordan both rank at the top of the league in rebounding and field goal percentage. Jordan is also right there in blocks. Both guys had tremendous potential when they came into the league, but no one saw this kind of improvement coming this season. Drummond has been a bit more impressive because he’s only in his second season – and doing it on a mess of a Pistons team that just fired its coach.
THE SLEEPER: Paul George.
Don’t think that just because George won the award last season that he can’t come right back and win it again this season. He has taken another giant leap from Pacers alpha dog to MVP candidate and has become one of the game’s biggest stars.
So bring on Bruno Mars and those shirtless 40-year old guys. It’s halftime in the race for Most Improved Player.
Oh yeah yeah! Oh yeah yeah yeah yeah…..
On to the rankings.