David West - New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets
Most Improved Player

David West is one of only four players in the top 25 of free throw percentage and field goal percentage ... West ranks 18th (.511) in field goal percentage and 23rd (.837) in free throw percentage ... has hit three game-winner with less than two seconds left this season (2/13 vs. WAS, 1/30 vs. MIL and 12/28 vs. HOU) ... career-high 34 points on 15-22 shooting (career-highs for FG attempts and makes) 11/19 at ORL ... 27 20+ points games ... 47 consecutive games played with 10+ points snapped 4/8 at DAL.

Our take:
They say the NBA is a "league of opportunity." For David West, the trade that sent Hornets center Jamaal Magloire packing for Milwaukee before the start of the season was that opportunity. P.J. Brown took over the center job and West moved into Brown's old power forward slot in the starting lineup. Take a look at the sums of West's averages for the first two seasons of his career: 10.0 points and 8.5 rebounds in 31.5 minutes per game with a total of nine starts. Now check out this season's averages through 72 appearances: 17.0 points and 7.4 rebounds in 34.4 minutes per game, with 72 starts. It's not a case of putting up good numbers on a bad team, as the Hornets unexpectedly hovered around the .500 mark most of this season. Since they proved to be legit, then David West must be, too.
-- Brad Friedman

From the coach:
He's young, and he's going to continue to get better. Obviously there are still some things he has to work on, and we'll talk about those this summer. But the things we talked about last summer, David came in, worked on them, got better, and he's had a terrific season ... I'm just proud of the way he's played for us this year.
-- Byron Scott, Cincinnati Enquirer

A fan's take:
He went from six points and four rebounds to becoming the leading scorer of the team and averaging almost eight rebounds. Besides Chris Paul, David West is one of the main reaasons why the Hornets are having such a great season, so I think he deserves the Most Improved Player hands down.
-- Taquito - Toronto, Ont.

The Numbers:
2004-05 30 18.4 6.2 4.3 0.8 0.40 0.53 .436 .400 .680
2005-06 72 34.4 17.0 7.4 1.3 0.85 0.82 .508 .273 .841

Most Improved Player - The Candidates:
Boris Diaw - Phoenix Suns
Mike James - Toronto Raptors
Mehmet Okur - Utah Jazz
Gerald Wallace - Charlotte Bobcats
David West - New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets

Others worth consideration: Carmelo Anthony, Raja Bell, Chris Bosh, Dwight Howard, Joe Johnson, Chris Kaman, Nenad Krstic, Kevin Martin, Zaza Pachulia, Smush Parker, Tony Parker, Delonte West

Rookie of the Year
Defensive Player of the Year
Sixth Man Award
Coach of the Year
Most Valuable Player

Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty Images