With the book closed on the 2017-18 NBA season, we’re making our picks for the individual end-of-year awards. Here, we look at the players who took their game to another level.
MOST IMPROVED PLAYER
When Oladipo was traded from Oklahoma City to Indiana last offseason, no one could have seen this coming.
With the Pacers, he went from being a good player to one of the best in the league as his transformation that turned him into a star.
Whether it was getting out of the shadow of Russell Westbrook, changing his physique and improving his game, or a little bit of both, something changed with Oladipo as he made Indiana’s trade of Paul George completely worth it by instantly becoming the franchise’s next cornerstone.
At the age of 25, Oladipo significantly raised his stats across the board, averaging 23.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 2.4 steals, 47.7 per cent shooting from the field and 37.1 per cent from long range.
As a terror on both ends of the floor, Oladipo guided the Pacers to the fifth-best record in the East and was a game away from knocking off LeBron James in the first round of the playoffs.
It’s very rare a player improves to the extent Oladipo did over a year, but he seized the opportunity and rose to a level that would have been impossible to predict.
Having developed into one of the best young bigs in the league, the Rockets centre was critical to Houston’s success as a roll man and rim protector. He plays his role perfectly, doing all the dirty work without requiring plays run for him to be effective.
Spencer Dinwiddie (Brooklyn Nets)
From a second-round pick in 2014 to being one of the best players on a team – albeit a weak team – Dinwiddie has risen in prominence since entering the league as nothing more than a so-so prospect. He was far from efficient, but the Nets guard averaged 12.6 points per game after averaging 7.3 last year.
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