Skip to main content

5 Most Improved Players Of The 2000-01 NBA Season: They Became NBA Stars After That Year

5 Most Improved Players Of The 2000-01 NBA Season: They Became NBA Stars After That Year

Now that we are officially 20 years removed from the 2000-2001 season, we can go back and fully appreciate one of the most underrated votes in recent memory. At the time, the Most Improved Player of the Year voting featured a top 5, six players if we want to be technical, that all blossomed into stars. Their improvement didn’t just stop here as they all eventually evolved into All-Star players.

The voting was a landslide when you tallied the total votes, but the six players that make this list were special before we knew they were special. As their career grew, we got to see some pretty special moments. That all started with the Most Improved Player voting.


5T. Baron Davis (Charlotte Hornets)

Baron Davis

1999-2000 Stats: 5.9 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 3.8 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.2 BPG

2000-2001 Stats: 13.8 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 7.3 APG, 2.1 SPG, 0.4 BPG

Votes: 4.0

Davis for the third pick of the 1999 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Hornets. In his first year, he primarily backed up Eddie Jones and David Wesley. He produced a solid rookie year that saw the Hornets make the playoffs, but he would have greater success in his second year.

Davis saw an increase in all major statistical categories and would start all 82 games. Davis led the Hornets back to the playoffs, which included sweeping the Miami Heat in the first round. The team lost to the Ray Allen-led Milwaukee Bucks in the second round. His greatest highlight might have been on February 17, when he recorded the longest shot in NBA history at the Bradley Center when he buried an 89-foot shot with 0.7 seconds remaining in the third quarter against the Bucks.


5T. Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas Mavericks)

Dirk Nowitzki

1999-2000 Stats: 17.5 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 2.5 APG, 0.8 SPG, 0.8 BPG

2000-2001 Stats: 21.8 PPG, 9.2 RPG, 2.1 APG, 1.0 SPG, 1.2 BPG

Votes: 4.0

Nowitzki finished runner-up in the 1999-2000 Most Improved Player voting behind Jalen Rose. He made it to the All-Star Sophomore squad and was chosen to the Three-Point Contest, where he became the tallest player to ever participate. What’s impressive about his finish in the top-5, where he tied Davis for points, was that he was able to gain enough attention to be considered improved the following season.

He further improved his stats in his third season. He joined Michael Finley as the only two players to start all 82 games. In 10 games, he scored at least 30 points. He became the first Maverick to ever be voted into the All-NBA squads, making the Third-Team. His best friend, Steve Nash, would form a big three with Nowitzki and Finley as the Mavericks reached the playoffs for the first time since 1990.


4. Shawn Marion (Phoenix Suns)

Shawn Marion

1999-2000 Stats: 10.2 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 1.4 APG, 0.7 SPG, 1.0 BPG

2000-2001 Stats: 17.3 PPG, 10.7 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.7 SPG, 1.4 BPG

Votes: 6.0

Marion was selected with the No. 9 overall pick in the 1999 NBA Draft. Due to a left knee injury, he missed 31 games during his rookie year. Marion still played in 51 games and made 38 starts. With that said, for his contributions during the regular season, he made the All-Rookie Second Team. Marino would see a major jump in his second season.

Marion played for the Sophomores in the Rookie Challenge, where he also made 78 starts during the regular season. He finished the Rookie Challenge with 18 points in 24 minutes. Both his points and rebounds were massive increases, averaging a double-double in just his second season. Overall, Marion’s second season gave a precursor to what his future career would look like in Phoenix.


3. Steve Nash (Dallas Mavericks)

Steve Nash

1999-2000 Stats: 8.6 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 4.9 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.1 BPG

2000-2001 Stats: 15.6 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 7.3 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.1 BPG

Votes: 12.0

The Mavericks were so improved during this year that two players on the team made the top-5 in voting. After all, it had been a long time since the Mavericks had made the playoffs. Nash finished in the top-3 when he saw his points and assists nearly double in production. Nash was the floor general that saw both Nowitzki and Finley play some of their best basketball.

Combined with the acquisition of All-State Juwan Howard, the Mavericks featured a high-scoring trio. The Mavericks ultimately lost to the Spurs in the conference semifinals, but it began a memorable run for Nash and the Mavericks.


2. Peja Stojakovic (Sacramento Kings)

Peja Stojakovic

1999-2000 Stats: 11.9 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 1.4 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.1 BPG

2000-2001 Stats: 20.4 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 2.2 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.2 BPG

Votes: 14.0

After two seasons on the bench with the Kings, Stojakovic had a breakthrough season with the Kings in 2000-2001. He doubled his points total and saw increases in rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks. He did all of this while also shooting 40% from three-point range in his first season as a starter. For these reasons, he was rewarded with a runner-up finish in the voting.

Stojakovic’s rise to the top helped the Kings in general. The Kings won 57 games and made the playoffs. The team beat the Suns in the first round but were bounced by the Lakers in four games. Offensively, the Kings led the league in scoring thanks to some players like Chris Webber and Doug Christie, but Stojakovic was a huge contributor.


1. Tracy McGrady

Tracy McGrady

1999-2000 Stats: 15.4 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 3.3 APG, 1.1 SPG, 1.9 BPG

2000-2001 Stats: 26.8 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 4.6 APG, 1.5 SPG, 1.5 BPG

(Votes: 74.0)

Before the season began, McGrady was not seen as a top player in the league. By the end of the year, all the people that overlooked him voted him for Most Improved Player of the Year. McGrady had a top-5 individual player season when he averaged 26.8 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game. He was selected to the All-NBA Second Team after leading the Magic to a 43-39 record.

Before the season began, McGrady was not seen as a top player in the league. By the end of the year, all the people that overlooked him voted him for Most Improved Player of the Year. McGrady had a top-5 individual player season when he averaged 26.8 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game. He was selected to the All-NBA Second Team after leading the Magic to a 43-39 record.

The Magic entered the playoffs as the No. 7 seed and drew a matchup with the Bucks. McGrady gave a preview of his future superstar self when he scored 42 points, added 10 rebounds, and had eight assists. In the end, Milwaukee eliminated Orlando in four games, but it set up a future Hall of Fame career. 

Credit for an idea: Forgotten Seasons/Instagram

Next

The All-Time 3-Point Leaders For Each NBA Franchise

10 Best Scorers In Phoenix Suns History: Charles Barkley And Devin Booker Are Top 3, But Not The Best

Los Angeles Lakers Had A Deal For Kevin Garnett In 2007, But Kevin McHale And Danny Ainge Destroyed The Dream Duo Of Kobe And KG

All-NBA 2000s Team vs. All-NBA 2010s Team: Shaq And Kobe Against LeBron And Durant

Every NBA Franchises Best Wins/Loss Season: Warriors 73 Wins Is Impossible To Beat