Antetokounmpo, Middleton receive Most Improved Player votes

The NBA officially announced Thursday morning that Bulls guard Jimmy Butler is the 2014-15 Most Improved Player.

Butler, who torched the Bucks in Round 1 of the playoffs to the tune of 24.8 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game, took home 92 of 129 first-place votes. He finished with 535 total points, more than doubling up Golden State’s Draymond Green, who finished with 200 points. Utah’s Rudy Gobert finished third, with Miami’s Hassan Whiteside and Golden State’s Klay Thompson rounding out the top five.

Giannis Antetokounmpo finished seventh, garnering one first-place vote, three second-place votes and eight third-place votes to total 22 points. Khris Middleton finished 13th, earning four third-place votes.

Here’s the complete voting breakdown:

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If you’re wondering who each writer/media personality voted for, you can find that here.

Notably, Antetokounmpo’s lone first-place vote came from Frank Isola of the New York Daily News. Antetokounmpo received third-place votes from ESPN’s JA Adande, Chris Broussard and Jon Barry, as well as WTMJ’s Ted Davis, among others.

Bill Oram (Orange County Register), CF Gardner (Journal Sentinel), Paul Coro (Arizona Republic) and Tom Heinsohn (CSN New England) were responsible for Middleton’s four votes.

It’s tough to argue with the results, especially at the top. Butler’s numbers increased across the board – most notably, a jump from 13.1 to 20.0 points per game – without an increase in minutes over last season. Green was the do-it-all glue guy for a Golden State juggernaut that won 67 games, and both Gobert and Whiteside emerged from relative obscurity to establish themselves as two of the best defensive centers in the league.

Antetokounmpo placing seventh seems about right. He made major strides in his second season but struggled with consistency and ultimately still has plenty of work to do on the offensive end. On the other hand, Middleton was probably Milwaukee’s most consistent offensive player, and he’s headed for a major payday this summer. However, from a pure numbers perspective, his 2014-15 campaign wasn’t all that much better than last season. His scoring improved by less than a point-and-a-half per game, while his three-point percentage dropped slightly from 41.4 percent to 40.7 percent.

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That’s not to say Middleton didn’t improve in second year with the Bucks (he did), he simply didn’t show the kind of improvement necessary to warrant genuine consideration for the award.

Categories: Awards

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4 Comments

  1. So are there any Free Agents the Bucks should be interested in taking a look at?

    I think these FA centers are the ones that might be worth bringing-in for a look:

    Top Tier –
    DeAndre Jordan UFA

    Upper Middle Tier –
    Robin Lopez UFA
    Timofey Mozgov UFA
    Roy Hibbert UFA

    Middle Tier –
    Kyle O’Quinn RFA
    Ed Davis UFA
    Brandon Wright UFA
    Amir Johnson UFA

    Lower Tier –
    Thomas Robinson UFA
    Justin Hamilton RFA

    If we’re looking to add a true scorer to the team from FA then Jimmy Butler is the guy to go after; however, making a play for Kawhi Leonard (highly unlikely) is another big-time target who would be on the market — both of them are RFAs. Other notable players to possibly check-out would be:

    Wesley Matthews UFA
    Danny Green UFA

    If we’re simply looking to add another off-the-bench offensive guy then maybe we should take a peek at one of these guys:

    Will Barton RFA
    Marco Belinelli UFA
    Gerald Green UFA
    Jeremy Lin UFA

    In my personal opinion I’d like to see us try signing RFA Kyle O’Quinn and if not him perhaps UFA Ed Davis in order to add to our playable front court depth; finally, I wouldn’t mind seeing us try adding RFA Will Barton to our team’s offensive bench depth. All of these guys are young and developing players who have shown signs of real promise and to get them signed to the team would be a positive step toward creating a successful future. Of course these types of moves would have to come after we re-sign FA Khris Middleton and possibly after the 2016 NBA Draft.

    • I should have added RFA Bismack Biyombo to the Middle Tier group; maybe even at the top of that Middle Tier list.

  2. It’s clear from looking over the votes that Butler was the hands-down MIP in the eyes of the voters.

  3. In regards to L’s comment, I believe a few years ago, either Jeremy or Mitch made a comment about putting Henson on the Deandre Jordan workout/nutrition plan because of how big he had gotten after a few years in the league. It would be fun/interesting to see MCW or Giannis run the P&R with him along with his monster rebounding numbers. Wes Matthews could be a steal depending on how his rehab goes. However, I don’t think much more can be said about roster moves until after the draft.