Most Improved Rankings: Who’s the Least Improved?

Kels1

This column is soft. Every other week, we talk about the Most Improved Players in the league like we’re a modern-day Little League. We’re always telling everyone how great they are and giving them Fruit Roll-Ups, and letting them draw dinosaurs in the infield dirt during the game because they’re just creative and artistic and they’ll grow out of it and “everybody gets a trophy because look at how much you’ve improved!” Well, I’m sick of it. It’s time to come down hard on

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Most Improved Player Rankings: A Tribute to Ish Smith

Ish-Smith

This man’s greatness inspired a poem. I’d like to start this column off by paying tribute to a true basketball hero. I couldn’t express his greatness in column form, so I wrote a poem. I hope you’ll oblige. Dim the lights please. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhem. Ahhhem. Ahhhhh. Here we go: (Bongos playing) Dreary. Locker room smell. Sweaty socks. He walks in, authoritative. A Pelican no more. Scored 14 points in first game back. Tripled win total. There’s now hope where the bell tolls. Hope, and hoagies. (Bongos stop) Thank you. [Read more…]

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Most Improved Player Rankings: Why winning the award might not be a compliment

CJ McCollum

Usually, people like awards. They’re shiny and sometimes gold. You get to keep them and hang them on your wall, and then “accidentally” bump into them when your grandma comes over, so she can say “Careful!” and then “Ooh, what’s that?,” and you can tell her about how awesome you are. Sometimes, you get to stand up in front of other people and give speeches when you win an award. You can say motivational things like, “You the Real MVP!” and get moved to

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Most Improved Player Rankings, Edition II: Season of Green

draymondgreen

On Wednesday night, Draymond Green recorded his fourth triple-double of the season and didn’t play a minute in the fourth quarter. That is significant, because for the last decade, LeBron James has defined the point forward position. But now Green is redefining it. We aren’t quite ready to call him the best small forward in the NBA, much less the best small forward in the Western Conference. LeBron and Kevin Durant are going to be hard to knock off those mantles. But

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Most Improved Player Rankings: Edition I: The Birth of a Star

EtaCarinae

Some 7,500 light years away from Earth, at the center of a swirling vortex of nebulous clouds larger than our entire solar system lies Eta Carinae. A stellar system that burns over five million times brighter than our sun, Eta Carinae is the only star of its kind in the known universe. Observing it has sparked new theories and understandings of radiation, fusion, and spectral energy distribution. But astronomers and stargazers have watched and recorded Eta Carinae every night since 1679 for

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Most Improved Player Rankings: Why Jimmy Butler should take home the award

Jimmy Butler

It’s that time of year again. After all of the laughs, other-worldly performances, and misguided declarations that someone was dead, we’ve arrived at the end of the season. It’s time to pick a winner for the NBA’s Most Improved Player award. As always, I told myself I wasn’t going to cry. As always, I lied to myself. (Sniffle) We saw a lot of improvement in the NBA this season. The Atlanta Hawks went from Eastern Conference Playoff Team With a Losing Record™ to The Spurs

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Most Improved Player Rankings: Jimmy Butler returns to the NBA

New Jordan Stern

Jimmy Butler shaved his head and wore No. 45 in his return with the Bulls last week. (We think). Last time we were all together in this space, I announced that Jimmy Butler was dead. That was evidently erroneous and inaccurate reporting. I apologize for that. I was just trying to honor a veteran. I know now that Jimmy is not dead. In fact, he only missed 11 games for the Chicago Bulls, then returned triumphantly last week against the

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Most Improved Player Rankings: Life without Jimmy Butler

Hassan Whiteside

James H. Butler III 1989-2015 Hello everyone. Please take your seats. I’d like to start this column off with a moment of silence for our friend, Jimmy Butler. (Silence). Thank you. Ahem…god, this is tough…ahem. Ahem. Sorry. What can you say about a guy like Jimmy Butler? Jimmy was more than just a basketball player to most of us. He was maybe the most improved basketball player of the 2014-15 NBA season. His life was short, indeed, but in such a short time, he touched so many others. Colossians 1:17

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