NBA Awards: 5 Players Who Were More Improved Than Ryan Anderson in 2012

Peter EmerickSenior Writer IIMay 4, 2012

NBA Awards: 5 Players Who Were More Improved Than Ryan Anderson in 2012

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    USA Today is reporting that Orlando Magic forward Ryan Anderson will be named the NBA's 2012 Most Improved Player.

    There's no doubt that Anderson is deserving of the award, but there are a few other players that at least deserved to be mentioned in the "most improved player" category.

    Players like Andrew Bynum, Marcin Gortat, Jeremy Lin and others all had career years that are on the same level of improvement of Anderson. 

    Ahead is a list of five players that were more improved than Anderson this past season. 

Jeremy Lin

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    2011-12 Stats: 14.6 PPG, 6.2 APG, 3.1 RPG, 44.6% FG

    Pre-2011-12 Stats: 2.6 PPG, 1.4 APG, 1.2 RPG, 38.9% FG

    Say what you will about the whole Linsanity craze, but there's no doubting the fact that Jeremy Lin had an absolutely meteoric rise to stardom this season, and it was well deserved.

    Before the 2011-12 season Lin played in a total of 29 games and was nothing more than a scrub-time player averaging 9.8 minutes per game for the Golden State Warriors.

    With the Knicks this year, not only did Lin drastically increase his production, he also helped save the franchise as a whole.

    Lin is bound to have a solid career in the NBA, but this year was his best chance at winning a most improved player award, and unfortunately he didn't. 

Greg Monroe

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    2011-12 Stats: 15.4 PPG, 9.7 RPG, 0.7 BLKPG, 52.1% FG

    Career Stats: 12.1 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 0.6 BLKPG, 53.3% FG

    I'm not saying that Greg Monroe deserved to win the 2012 NBA Most Improved Player award, but he certainly improved his play quite a bit this year for a Piston's team who desperately needed someone to step up.

    Monroe saw increases in every statistical category this season, aside from field-goal percentage, with the most drastic improvement being made in his free-throw shooting percentage.  Monroe shot 73.9 percent from the charity stripe this year, as compared to his percentage of 68.5 percent last season.

    Not only did Monroe improve his game this year, he also helped the Pistons improve as a team and a franchise.  While they still only won 25 games, that's more than quite a few other teams can say for themselves.

    Monroe improved in nearly every aspect of his game, and that's exactly what the most improved player award is about. 

Marcin Gortat

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    2011-12 Stats: 15.4 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 1.5 BLKPG, 55.5% FG

    Career Stats: 8.1 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 1.1 BLKPG, 55.5% FG

    Marcin Gortat is the definition of improvement. In his first season with the Phoenix Suns Gortat blew his career marks out of the water, and showed that he has what it takes to be a legitimate center in the NBA.

    While Gortat couldn't help the Suns make it into the playoffs this season, there's no doubt that his increased play helped the underwhelming Suns stay relevant in a dominant Western Conference.

    The most impressive aspect of Gortat's improvement this season is the fact that he still managed to shoot the ball at his 55.5 percent career mark, as he saw his minutes per game average increase from 20.5 to 32.0 this season. 

Jarrett Jack

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    2011-12 Stats: 15.6 PPG, 6.3 APG, 3.9 RPG, 45.6% FG

    Career Stats: 10.8 PPG, 4.2 APG, 2.7 RPG, 44.7% FG

    Some may say that Jarrett Jack's increase in production this year is in large part due to the serious lack of talent the New Orleans Hornets had, but even without talent around him he still managed to improve every statistical area of his game.

    Jack is slowly but surely turning into a legitimate point guard in the ranks of the NBA, as evidenced by his impressive improvement this year.

    The main reason why Jack isn't a legitimate part of the most improved player award discussion is because the Hornets were such a terrible team this year.  The good news for Jack, though, is that if he keeps improving his game, he could certainly be in contention for the award in years to come. 

    I think Jack should get the most improved player award this year just for having to play for the Hornets all season. I'm sure that wasn't an easy task. 

Andrew Bynum

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    2011-12 Stats:  18.7 PPG, 11.8 RPG, 1.9 BLKPG, 55.8% FG

    Career Stats:  11.7 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 1.6 BLKPG, 56.6% FG

    Andrew Bynum has been on the cusp of a breakout season for the past six years.  Fortunately for him, the 2011-12 season was his time to shine.

    Bynum's statistical production sky-rocketed this year, as he saw his minutes increase significantly.  There's no doubting the improvement that existed in Bynum's play this year, as evidenced by his historic 10 point, 13 rebound and 10 block triple-double against the Nuggets just a few days ago.

    The only thing that Bynum hasn't improved, which is arguably more important than his statistical production, is his maturity level.  That could be a big reason why he didn't win the most improved player award this year.

    This year was Bynum's best shot at winning the award, and unfortunately his immaturity may have gotten in the way.