The Oklahoma City Thunder’s Serge Ibaka has put himself among the front-runners for the Most Improved Player award after putting up career-high numbers through the first part of the 2012-13 NBA season. But where does the young power forward actually rank among those front-runners?
Determining the most qualified candidates for Most Improved Player is about more than just looking at whose stats jump the most from one season to the next. Not only does statistical improvement count, but the situation of each player from season to season is also very important.
What is particularly important is looking at the amount of time a player is playing from season to season. It is great if a player scores five more points per game, but it’s greatness is significantly lessened if the player’s minutes per game have increased even more (which should be your clue that James Harden will not be on this list).
Ibaka looks like a solid contender. While he is playing more minutes, he played starter’s minutes in 2011-12 also. The fact that he has improved most of his numbers and play in those similar minutes is huge.
The question is whether there is another NBA player who has accomplished more.