Baller Mind Frame’s No Layups brings you the hottest NBA stories on the web mixed with personal opinion from our very own Aaron Lanton
Goran Dragic, whose breakout season helped the Phoenix Suns make a remarkable transformation, has been named the NBA’s most improved player.
The 6-foot-3 Slovenian, who turns 28 in two weeks, flourished under first-year coach Jeff Hornacek’s double-point guard system, teaming with Eric Bledsoe to form a dynamic backcourt.
Dragic averaged 20.5 points and 5.9 assists per game, shooting 50.5 percent from the field, 40.8 percent on 3-pointers. He was the only player in the NBA to shoot better than 50 percent from the field and 40 percent from 3-point range.
Dragic received 408 of a possible 1,134 points, including 65 first-place votes, from a panel of 126 sports writers and broadcasters in the United States and Canada. Indiana’s Lance Stephenson was second with 158 points and 13 first-place votes, and New Orleans’ Anthony Davis third with 155 points and 16 first-place votes. Associated Press
The Phoenix Suns narrowly missed the playoffs in a tough Western Conference. Nearly everyone expected the franchise to be among the league’s bottom feeders. The franchise became the darling of the NBA as they defied all odds, and showed what was possible even in a year that does not guarantee a playoff berth. Dragic was the embodiment of that realization by becoming one of the best guards in the league. He is an indispensable part of the team’s future, something only the most rabid Dragic supporter would have claimed before this season.
It’s unclear if the Suns will continue to build through the draft, or seek to contend next season, but they are in good hands at point guard for the rest of the decade. – AL