Wizards

Morning tip: Otto Porter's strongest competition for Most Improved Player in NBA

Wizards

A career season is being posted by Otto Porter, and it couldn't come at a better time with him in a contract year going into this summer. He'll be on the short list of players vying for the Most Improved Player award when the 2016-17 regular season ends. 

"Anytime he shoots and misses, we're surprised," Wizards coach Scott Brooks said, after Porter led them with 21 points by shooting 5 of 7 from three-point range in a 112-86 win over the Atlatnat Hawks on Friday.

Porter already has eight double-doubles -- three more than his total in three previous seasons since he was the No. 3 overall pick in 2013. 

Porter is shooting 45.6% from three which leads the NBA, and contibuting 14.4 pointrs on 53.5% shooting, 6.6 rebounds and 1.4 steals. All are career-highs. But he's not necessarily the leader of the pack. 

Clint Capela (Rockets): The center took over for Dwight Howard and has been a difficult matchup for some. His stats are modoest, 11.7 points on 62.4% shooting, 7.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks, He's doing it all in just 23.1 minutes per game.

Harrison Barnes (Mavs): In starring role in his first season in Dallas, the forward has gone from 11.7 points per game with Golden State to 20.4. The counter-argument for Barnes is his team's record.

Ruby Gobert (Jazz): The big man was an All-Star consideration with 12.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and 2.6 blocks, and defensively he has been key to their resurgence as a likely playoff team.

Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks): The first-time All-Star has gone from 16.9 points to 23.4 His. 8.8 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 2.0 blocks per game also are career-highs. 

 

Porter's toughest competition will be Antetokounmpo and Gobert. If the Wizards hold to form as a winning team, that could prove the difference with Barnes. But Antetokounmpo probably is the one to beat because he's more popular (and on all the highlight reels). Last year, C.J. McCollum of the Portland Trail Blazers won the recognition as the Most Improved Player.