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2016 PBT Awards: Most Improved Player

CJ McCollum, Gary Harris

Portland Trail Blazers’ CJ McCollum, right, drives against Denver Nuggets’ Gary Harris during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Saturday, March 28, 2015. The Trail Blazers defeated the Nuggets 120-114. (AP Photo/Greg Wahl-Stephens)


Kurt Helin

1. C.J. McCollum

2. Will Barton

3. Jae Crowder

My least favorite award, it often goes to a player who finally gets minutes but didn’t necessarily improve. McCollum certainly did get more minutes this season and had a lot more responsibility thrown his way, but he handled it well and became more efficient. Also, no doubt Stephen Curry and Kawhi Leonard improved, but the wording of the award asks for up and coming players, and I just can’t go there with them.

Sean Highkin

1. C.J. McCollum

2. Jae Crowder

3. Will Barton

I hate this award, because the criteria is so ambiguous. But McCollum has emerged as a legit No. 2 scoring option on a team that made the most surprising playoff run of the year, and Crowder, who was a throw-in in last year’s Rajon Rondo trade, is the most important and versatile player on a very good Celtics team.

Dan Feldman

1. C.J. McCollum

2. DeMar DeRozan

3. Gary Harris

McCollum checks both boxes for this award: taking a bigger role and playing better than in a lesser one. I don’t consider him the runaway candidate many do, but he edged others for the top of my mythical ballot. DeRozan didn’t actually play up to his reputation – until this year, when he took his game to another level. Harris, completely over his head as a rookie, turned into a reasonable starter. Others who drew strong consideration: Kemba Walker, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Ian Mahinmi, Kawhi Leonard, Rodney Hood Will Barton and – my favorite MIP candidate – Stephen Curry.