Three Rockets among NBA's most improved

Three Rockets among NBA's most improved
April 23, 2013, 11:15 am
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(Kelley L. Cox - USA Today Images)

Pacers' forward Paul George won Most Improved Player on Tuesday morning, but three Rockets finished in the top 10 in voting.

Omer Asik finished sixth in the voting with nine first-place votes, nine second-place votes, and 14 third-place votes. Asik emerged this year when he signed with Houston as a free agent after being a backup center with the Bulls last season, improving from averages of 3.1 points and 5.3 rebounds to this year's averages of 10.1 points and 11.7 rebounds, a figure good for third in the league.

James Harden finished seventh in the voting with eight first-place votes, three second-place votes, and four third-place votes. After winning sixth man of the year last season, Harden was traded to Houston prior to the start of the season and became the Rockets' leading man, improving from averages of 16.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 3.7 assists to averages of 25.9 points (fifth in the league), 4.9 rebounds, and 5.8 assists.

Chandler Parsons finished 10th in the voting with four second-place votes and two third-place votes. Parsons progressed in his second season in the league out of the University of Florida and continued to prove any doubters wrong for passing up on him in the NBA Draft. The Rockets managed to nab him in 2011 in the second round with the 38th overall pick. This season, Parsons became essentially a part of Houston's version of the "Big Three," increasing his averages of 9.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 2.1 assists to this season's marks of 15.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 3.5 assists. He also markedly improved his free throw shooting from 55.1 percent to a dependable 72.9 percent.

George netted 52 first-place votes, 14 second-place votes, and nine third-place votes to win the award. George made the leap from good role player to superstar carrying the same team, becoming known for his play on both ends of the floor and becoming one of the elite defenders at his position. His averages increased from 12.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 2.4 assists to marks of 17.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 4.1 assists. More important was his role in helping to carry the Pacers to among the Eastern Conference elite without Danny Granger for most of the season.

The Bulls' Jimmy Butler from Tomball High School finished 14th in the voting after becoming quite the defensive force himself in his second season in the Association.

COMPLETE VOTING:


Player 1st Place (5 Pts) 2nd Place (3 Pts) 3rd Place (1 pts) Total

Paul George (Indiana) 52 14 9 - 311

Greivis Vasquez (New Orleans) 13 19 24 - 146

Larry Sanders (Milwaukee) 10 25 16 - 141

Nikola Vucevic (Orlando) 10 14 17 - 109

Jrue Holiday (Philadelphia) 10 13 13 - 102

Omer Asik (Houston) 9 9 14 - 86

James Harden (Houston) 8 3 4 - 53

Stephen Curry (Golden State) 1 4 1 - 18

Serge Ibaka (Oklahoma City) 1 3 1 - 15

Chandler Parsons (Houston) 0 4 2 - 14

Kemba Walker (Charlotte) 0 2 3 - 9

J.R. Smith (New York) 1 1 0 - 8

Klay Thompson (Golden State) 1 1 0 - 8

Jimmy Butler (Chicago) 0 2 1 - 7

Ryan Anderson (New Orleans) 1 0 0 - 5

Carmelo Anthony (New York) 1 0 0 - 5

Andray Blatche (Brooklyn) 1 0 0 - 5

Mike Conley (Memphis) 1 0 0 - 5

Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio) 0 1 2 - 5

Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City) 0 1 1 - 4

Arron Afflalo (Orlando) 0 1 0 - 3

Earl Clark (L.A. Lakers) 0 0 3 - 3

Kenneth Faried (Denver) 0 1 0 - 3

Greg Monroe (Detroit) 0 1 0 - 3

Joakim Noah (Chicago) 0 1 0 - 3

Tristan Thompson (Cleveland) 0 0 2 - 2

Tobias Harris (Orlando) 0 0 1 - 1

Jarrett Jack (Golden State) 0 0 1 - 1

Ty Lawson (Denver) 0 0 1 - 1

Brook Lopez (Brooklyn) 0 0 1 - 1

Robin Lopez (New Orleans) 0 0 1 - 1

Lance Stephenson (Indiana) 0 0 1 - 1

Jeff Teague (Atlanta) 0 0 1 - 1

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