TNT’s Inside the NBA announced the finalist for every NBA season award. Warriors fans and myself were excited to see Warriors guard Jordan Poole be named the Most Improved Player award this season.
Not only will Poole not be winning this award, he was not even in the top 3 for the award, a disgrace to the award and a slap in the face to a guy who has a work ethic like no other. Another chip added to Poole’s shoulder, here’s how he was snubbed.
The Golden State Warriors star guard Jordan Poole who had monumental success in 2022 was snubbed the MIP award, not even being named a finalist.
This award is pretty straightforward. What player had the biggest jump or improvement from last season to this season wins the award. Usually given to a lesser-known player who becomes a major part of a good team.
Some recent examples of winners of this award are: Julius Randle, Brandon Ingram and Pascal Siakam.
Julius Randle was looked at as a bad contract for the New York Knicks until he had his amazing year last season and took the Knicks back to the playoffs. Before that, Brandon Ingram went from being dumped by the Lakers to an all-star the next season.
In 2018-2019, Pascal Siakam went from being unknown to a major part of the NBA champion Toronto Raptors.
Finalists for 2021-2022
Don’t get me wrong, the three guys that are up for this award have had fantastic seasons. Ja Morant took a big jump into MVP considerations. Darius Garland from the Cleveland Cavaliers became a first-time All-Star and Dejounte Murray improved his stats in nearly every category.
However, Ja Morant was already a household name and a top-two pick. A lot of people expected a jump like this, and while averaging 8 more points, his assist numbers were down, not to mention how great his team did in his absence due to injury.
Darius Garland was a first-time All-Star but his averages saw minor jumps. Even with running mate Collin Sexton out all season, Garland averaged around the same numbers he did the year prior.
Finally, Dejounte Murray in all honesty is the one who should win this award out of the group. He carried an undermanned Spurs team to a play-in berth this season. Murray increased his scoring by about 6 points, his rebounding, and most impressively his assists jumped almost 4.
Draymond Green’s Thoughts
Even before the finalists were announced for this award, Draymond Green had a few words to say about Poole and the award.
Love him or hate him, Green is one of the smartest basketball players we have ever seen. I always value his opinion on these topics and the development of young players. Green even reassured that Poole should be a finalist, mentioning that Jordan was almost out of the league at one point.
Jordan Poole’s Improvement
I think a lot of people forget that Jordan Poole at one point last season was sent to the G-league for 11 games. Even with Klay Thompson out, the Warriors went with guys like Brad Wannamaker, Mychal Mulder, and Kent Bazemore.
No disrespect to those guys, but it seems a little ridiculous looking back at it now.
Poole especially showed his value and improvement in the month of March and amid Stephen Curry’s absence.
In March, Jordan Poole had 17 straight 20+ point games. The streak ended in a game where he had 19 points then the next game scored 18 points. After that, Poole returned to form with 22 and then a 30-point playoff debut on 91% true shooting percentage.
Poole has had to deal with continuing role changes with injuries, lineup rotations, and closing lineups. He went from starting, to sixth man, and then back to starting. To start the year, coach Steve Kerr would not finish the game with Poole on the floor.
Now, there’s no way Poole won’t be out there with the game on the line.
His points, rebounds, and assists all jumped up while also leading the entire league in free throw percentage. Once again, I didn’t expect Poole to be a lock for the award.
The disrespect to not even making him a finalist genuinely upsets me. Poole and the Warriors have their eyes set on a bigger goal and if I know anything about the Warriors’ culture is that they don’t care about individual awards. So, I know Poole will not bat an eye about being snubbed.