Paul George Named 2013 NBA Most Improved Player

Tim Keeney@@t_keenContributor IApril 22, 2013

Just one day after registering his second career triple-double, Indiana Pacers small forward Paul George was named the 2013 NBA Most Improved Player on Tuesday, the NBA announced.

Hoopsworld's Alex Kennedy first tweeted the news last night, and the Indianapolis Star's Mike Wells later confirmed it:

This marks yet another monumental step in George's ascent up the league's hierarchy.

As a rookie in 2010-11, the Fresno State product earned All-Rookie Second Team honors, after averaging 7.8 points in 20.7 minutes per game.

He started all 66 games for the Pacers in last year's lockout-shortened season en route to 12.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.6 steals in 29.7 minutes. He flashed signs of star potential throughout the season, but consistency was an issue.

In his third season, he took the leap from talented young player to NBA All-Star.

With Danny Granger out for most of the season, George rose to the occasion for the Pacers, averaging 17.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.8 steals per contest. He was slightly less efficient, dropping his 44.0 percent field-goal percentage to a 41.9 clip, but he led Indiana to a No. 3 seed in the East as their go-to offensive option. 

In winning this award, George beats out several other intriguing candidates. Larry Sanders, Greivis Vasquez, Omer Asik and several others around the league took their games to new levels this year, and every single one of them has a compelling case for the achievement.

But in the end, the voters went with George, who established himself as not only one of the NBA's most talented, versatile players, but as the leader of one of the league's best teams.