Boris Diaw - Phoenix Suns
Most Improved Player

2005-06:
Averaging 13.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, 6.0 assists (19th), .527 FG (T-7th) in 35.5 minutes, all career highs, in 2005-06 ... One of three NBA players (LeBron James, Jason Kidd) to average at least six rebounds and six assists ... Became only fourth NBA player (Kidd, James, Dwyane Wade) to record multiple triple-doubles this season with 24 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists at Dallas on March 5 ... Logged his first career triple-double at Philadelphia on Jan. 31 with 14 points, 11 rebounds and a career-high tying 13 assists ... Scored a career-high 31 points at Minnesota on Dec. 26 (prev. 20, April 17, 2005, Atlanta at New York).

Our take:
Boris Diaw was basically a throw-in in the Joe Johnson trade last summer, having played limited minutes for a team that went 13-69 in '04-05. The Suns didn't exactly have him penciled into their rotation and thought that he could maybe give them some minutes at the one or the two. No one could have guessed that he would be starting at center for them (and holding his own) down the line. You can say that he's a product of Steve Nash or that anyone's numbers will go up in the Phoenix system, but you can't deny that Boris Diaw has done a lot for himself as well.
-- John Schuhmann

From the coach:
He's the type of guy that has to have guys around him that know how to play, because it's not his game to go one-on-one and try to do things himself. He's a team player and he thrives in a team type of system. With Nash and Shawn Marion and guys like that, that's what he has found. And then the confidence grows. He's gotten better with his shot. He's just a terrific ball player.
-- Mike D'Antoni

A fan's take:
He arrived from Atlanta, one of the worst teams of the league, to one one of the best, Phoenix. Logically, his stats should have gone down. On the contrary, he is now one of the most complete players of the league, and is able to play as a guard, a forward or a center. And despite the absence of Stoudemire, Phoenix kept on winning with Diaw as a center. He definitely deserves this award.
-- Tom - Cognac, France

The Numbers:
G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
2004-05 66 18.2 4.8 2.6 2.3 0.56 0.27 .422 .180 .740
2005-06 78 35.5 13.5 6.8 6.0 0.71 1.05 .527 .267 .735

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

MAKING THE CASE FOR ...
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