Ben Golliver is the man behind Blazer's Edge, SB Nation's Portland Trail Blazers blog, and he does some writing for SI.com on the side. Neither site is much known for trolling, so we should all seriously note that with the NBA season about 20 games old, Golliver gives his initial three nominees for the Most Improved Player award, and right at the top of the list is OH COME ON!!!
Shall we read on? Yes, yes, we must read on.
It's hard to show more improvement than Blatche, who was essentially sent home by the Wizards last season for conditioning issues and then deemed not worth the trouble and amnestied over the summer. That's the NBA's version of a dumpster pile. Blatche has climbed out of it to be an effective reserve and fill-in starter for the Nets, averaging 11.2 points and 6.6 rebounds. Leaps don't get much bigger than going from worse than worthless (the Wizards paid him $23 million to go home) to one of the league's better values (the Nets have him on a minimum deal). That might be a slightly twisted version of what "Most Improved" is supposed to stand for, especially this late in his career, but the turnaround shouldn't go completely unnoticed.
"Slightly twisted" might actually be the polite way to put it, Benjamin.
On a basic per-game basis, Blatche is actually having his third-best scoring year (behind 2010-11 and 2009-10, if his averages hold), and the case becomes even stronger when you look at his advanced stats. (Blatche's Win Shares/48 minutes number is .192 this season. Last season: -0.011.)
So, there you are. Andray Blatche, potential Most Improved Player of the Year.