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Contenders: Eric Bledsoe, Kawhi Leonard, John Henson, Harrison Barnes, Jeremy Lamb, Iman Shumpert, Jimmy Butler
Several exciting breakout players will battle for Most Improved Player honors, and most of them are guards and swingmen.
But it's a big man who gets the nod and the hardware.
Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas will earn a starting role and see a huge uptick in playing time, because the club is far from loaded in the post. If his offseason work in the Vegas Summer League and EuroBasket are any indication, he'll thrive in his sophomore campaign.
Expect him to grab more rebounds per minute, convert more close-range attempts and enjoy a higher usage rate in 2013-14 (his 2012-13 usage percentage was 16.9).
Head coach Dwane Casey is high on Valanciunas' potential, as he told Robert MacLeod of The Globe and Mail that JV is ready to turn heads going forward: "He went through some growing pains, but we had to force feed his growth.
"But as the year went on, he really got better, we started going to the post to him, he was producing, he was creating double teams."
Valanciunas is increasingly confident in his low-post footwork and touch, and he's only getting better as a passer and mid-range shooter. The Raptors need him to produce in the post if they want to get close to .500, so he'll likely exceed 15 points and nine rebounds per night to edge out Eric Bledsoe for the award.