After the entire Phoenix Suns team displayed Most Improved Team characteristics all year long, their star point guard Goran Dragic received the individual Most Improved Player Award.
The Suns had many candidates on their roster for Most Improved - Gerald Green nearly doubled his career scoring average (15.8 vs. 8.0). Markieff Morris led all reserves in double-doubles (11), points off bench and rebounds off bench. Eric Bledsoe was the early leader for most improved before hurting his knee in December and finished the year as a max-contract shoe-in. The list goes on and on.
Gerald Green finished 4th, getting 16 first-place votes, and Markieff Morris was 10th.
But it was Goran Dragic who put up a season that only two league MVPs and two All-Stars have ever approached. Dragic became only the fourth player in league history to score 20 points per game, dish 5 assists per game, shoot 50+% from the field and 40+% from three-point range.
Only LeBron James (once), Larry Bird (three times) and Jeff Hornacek (1991-92 - All-Star) and Chris Webber (1995-96) have ever matched those numbers in a season. Webber only played a few games that season, so he would not have qualified for any awards.
Collecting 408 of a possible 1,134 points, Dragic received 65 first-place votes from a panel of 126 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada. Lance Stephenson of the Indiana Pacers (158 points, 13 first-place votes) and Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans (155 points, 16 first-place votes) came in second and third, respectively. Players were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote received.
In the past year, Dragic has been named to the All-Tournament team for Eurobasket 2013 as one of the two best guards in the tourney, got married to his longtime girlfriend and saw his child come into the world healthy and happy.
Now, he has some NBA recognition for stepping up his game better than ever before. He did not make the All-Star game, but he is the MIP and might make an All-NBA team as well.
Cue the Dragon!