Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
Goran Dragic is the recipient of the Most Improved Player of the Year award for the 2013-14 season.
Serving as a paltry consolation prize for his All-Star Game snub, Dragic will have to settle with a forgotten award.
Winning in a landslide, Dragic received 65 of the 126 first place votes. The next closest to receive as many first place votes were Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans and Gerald Green of the Phoenix Suns with 16 apiece. Finishing second overall to Dragic, was Lance Stephenson of the Indiana Pacers, who still did not come even halfway to toppling Phoenix’s dragon.
More than doubling his career scoring average (9.5 – 20.3), Dragic took leaps and bounds forward from where he was last season. Often referred to as, “a poor man’s Steve Nash,” Dragic may be a few MVPs short, but is not lacking of the skill of his former mentor.
When teammate and backcourt mate Eric Bledsoe went down with knee surgery, the fairy tale run for the Suns appeared to be coming to an end. They had played drastically better than anyone expected them to and that was all good and well, but it was time to come to a close. Defying his critics and detractors like he has for the majority of his time in the league, Dragic spun out the best season of his career to step into the upper-echelon of Western Conference point guards.
Often lost amongst the shuffle of the game’s elite floor generals, Dragic’s name waits to come up on a list that feature All-Stars such as Chris Paul, Tony Parker and Stephen Curry. While the aforementioned point guards are all dynamic players in their own right, Dragic does not have an inkling of the talent surrounding him that those elite players do.
Had he not been hampered by nagging injuries at the conclusion of the season, Dragic’s narrative may be compelling different. Rather than being around to accept his achievement, he may have been embroiled in a first-round battle with the San Antonio Spurs.
Teammate Gerald Green also did quite well for himself in the voting. Turning into a supremely effective sixth man, Green finished four in the overall voting. Known throughout the league for his tremendous leaping ability, Green showed multiple facets of his game that make him a contributing NBA player.
While they would much rather be a part of the 2014 Postseason, both Dragic and Green can take solace in the fact that finally the rest of the league is noticing the vast amount of improvement coming from Phoenix.