This year’s Most Improved Player race is as close as ever. There are multiple candidates that are competing for the award, dissimilar to last year’s race, when Goran Dragic won in a landslide. But one player has risen above everybody else, and that is Golden State’s Draymond Green.
Draymond Green, starting consistently for the first time in his career, has helped his Warriors clinch the Western Conference already with his superb defense. In a previous article, I have him as the top Defensive Player of the Year candidate.
Green leads the NBA in defensive win shares, with 5.0. He is currently second in the NBA in defensive rating, with a 96.2. These stats say a lot about his contributions to his team, but it’s not just his defense that makes him the NBA’s Most Improved Player.
He is averaging career highs in almost every major category this season. In 31.6 minutes a game, he has 11.8 points per game, 1.3 blocks per game, a .341 three-point percentage, 1.6 steals, 8.1 rebounds, and 3.6 assists. All career highs.
This season, he has started all 73 games he has played in so far this year, with the Warriors winning all but 13 of them. This is coming off two years in which he started a combined 13 times.
He is the definition of a breakout star. While you can make a case for guys like the Pelicans’ Anthony Davis and the Heat’s Hassan Whiteside, nobody in the NBA has performed as well on both sides of the ball after so little recognition than Green this year.
Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Harrison Hamm