After more than 1/3 of the season, it’s time to check Top 5 Candidates for 2016-17 NBA Most Improved Players.

Russel Westbrook

2015-2016: 23.5 PTS, 7.8 REB, 10.4 AST, 29.6 3p%, 18 triple-doubles

2016-1017: 30.9 PTS, 10.4 REB, 10.5 AST, 32.5 3p%, 16 triple-doubles

If you ask me now who is the best candidate for MVP race and who is the best PG at this moment in NBA? Answer on both of these questions is going to be the same-Russel Westbrook. Or how some people call him Beastbrook.

It actually doesn’t matter how you wish to call him because he is the most improved player in NBA. If you have a doubt about that, just take a look at his stat line in last year and this year. He is growing every year and I don’t mean by height but by skill. He is leading Thunders to playoffs even though Kevin Durant left for a bigger possibility to gain championship ring. Guess who stayed loyal… Even MJ recognized that and just a little bit dissed Durant.

Do you need any more evidence? Ok. Then take a quick look at his triple-double count – 16. The whole league together have only 23 triple-doubles. Last year he had 18. And it is only mid season. Off course, Oklahoma State won’t see Larry O’Brien’s trophy this year or any year soon if they don’t make any moves on NBA market and go for big deals. But they have a big advance of enjoying Russel’s show.

Giannis Antetokounmpo

2015-2016 16.9 PTS, 7.7 REB, 4.3 AST

2016-2017 23.8 PTS, 9.0 REB, 5.9 AST

This guy, again. That’s the current situation and we need to deal with it. He is everywhere. He has already put a huge dot on NBA map and putting Milwaukee Bucks higher in standings. He is not MVP candidate and won’t be expected like one for some seasons but he is still unique player-playmaker, great ball handler, explosive first step, great post moves, great on pick and roll and is slowly stealing euro step from James Harden.

Giannis is one of the best of his generation and he is not even drafted at the highest draft position. To remind you, he was picked as the 15th in the First Round which makes this all even more impressing. One more perfect thing about him (like there couldn’t be more) is that his defense is pretty elite where his 7′ 3″ wingspan helps a lot.

He will be one of the best players in the NBA for years to come.

Anthony Davis

2015-2016 24.3 PTS, 10.3 REB, 2.0 BLK

2016-2017 29.2 PTS, 11.6 REB, 2.6 BLK

The Brow, Block party. Not that I don’t like these previous nicknames but I would just simply like to call him the best two-way player in the league. It is just undoubtedly. Only two guys who he can compete with this guy is Kawhi Leonard and LeBron James.

Every year he is just evolving into one of the best players in NBA and now he is the best power forward. All the time we are talking about offense and we often forget about defense. This is the place where AD feels like back in the home, back In Chicago. No one can safely walk down the Davis’ street because he will send you home if you will try to break in his basket. That’s just facts. Last year he had 2.0 blocks per game, this year he has 2.6 blocks per game and currently he is a leader.

Obviously, he is the leader of his Pelicans, too. Every year he is dragging them closer and closer to the play-off spot. He just needs better help from other guys but with the way he is progressing, I think the help won’t be needed.

Jabari Parker

2015-2016 14.1 PTS, 5.2 REB, 1.7 AST, 25.7 3p% 

2016-2017 20.5 PTS, 5.8 REB, 2.4 AST, 38.7 3p%

One more player from the Milwaukee Bucks. This 2nd pick in 2014 draft is lucky that his teammate is Giannis and also Giannis needs to be happy too because this guy’s progress is pretty visible. Besides ball handling and mediocre defense, he has it all too. Parker has greatly worked on his 3 point game and now he is shooting better than most players in his position.

The best thing about him is his skill of making plays and his first explosive step. He also can be great in the post. With Giannis, they are becoming one of the best duos in NBA. This means that Bucks and whole Milwaukee state has bright future ahead if one or other won’t be traded.

Kyrie Irving

2015-2016 19.6 PTS, 4.7 AST, 44.8 FG%, 32.1 3p% 

2016-2017 23.9 PTS, 6.0 AST, 48.1 FG%, 42.0 3p%

PHOENIX, AZ – MARCH 12: Kyrie Irving #2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers celebrates after scoring against the Phoenix Suns during the second half of the NBA game at US Airways Center on March 12, 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

In the last place, I couldn’t choose between sophomore Kristaps Porzingis or how most recognize him as PorzinGod and Kyrie Irving aka Uncle Drew.

Uncle Drew is this old guy from Pepsi commercials who… What am I doing? Everybody knows who Uncle Drew is. But do everyone know who is Kyrie Irving? So I choose to talk about him and his progress and his huge role in Cavs who vastly moving the army to champions title, the second season in a row.

I can agree to Stephen Anthony Smith’ words that LeBron is the best player for 46 minutes but what happens in last two, in the clutch time? That’s where Uncle… ups… Kyrie Irving is stepping in. He has shown it to us plenty of times in the past. But the most epic time was in the 7 Final Game against their toughest competitors Golden State Warriors. That was something!

This play is named as one of the best clutch plays in NBA history.

We are slowly experiencing LeBron stepping down from his throne and giving some more place for Kyrie because he is recognizing his amazing skill. In my opinion, he is the greatest ball handler in NBA and let’s not forget about his 3 point shooting which is among 3 points shooting elite.

Last year his teammates were complaining about his ball movement and his low assists per game stats. This year he has worked on that and now he is averaging 6 assists per game, which is great numbers for PG even more for such a finisher.


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