Mike James - Toronto Raptors
Most Improved Player

2005-06:
Averaging 20.1 points, 3.3 rebounds, a team-best 5.9 assists (20th in NBA) and 37.0 minutes in 77 games, all as a starter ... Led the team in assists on 52 occasions ... Named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for Games played Jan. 2-8 ... Ranks third in the NBA in three-point shooting percentage with a .444 (165-372) mark ...Scored 20-or-more points in consecutive nine games (Feb. 25- March 12), averaging 24.7 points ... Averaged 23.0 points, 6.6 assists and 37.8 minutes in February ... First player in franchise history to post four consecutive games of 30-or-more points (April 5-11) ... Registered fourth consecutive double-double (15 points, 10 rebounds) in a career-best 47:19 minutes Apr. 2 vs. NOK

Our take:
The training camp trade of Rafer Alston to Houston for Mike James turned out to be a great deal for the Raptors. James gave them some scoring punch on the perimeter to compliment Chris Bosh down low. He also provides veteran leadership on a young team and has hit countless big shots this season, never afraid to step up in a key moment. It has been a breakout year for Mike James.
-- John Schuhmann

From the media:
He has surpassed everyone's expectations. When the Raptors picked him up from Houston, the general concessus was that James would probably average 12-16 a game. But James got it going early and has made the most of the Raptors favourite play call: the screen and roll with CB4.
-- Chuck Swirsky, Raptors.com

A fan's take:
Mike James, who? Mike James. Mike James came from the Rockets in a trade and provided the Raptors with not only a pass point-guard, but a guard who can shoot the ball. He is compared to Steve Nash as apples and oranges. Also nobody knew who he was, and now everyone says "D up Mike James" or "Dont leave him open."
-- Jatin - Toronto, Ont.

The Numbers:
G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
2004-05 74 25.1 11.8 2.8 3.6 0.88 0.08 .441 .386 .752
2005-06 77 37.0 20.1 3.3 5.9 0.92 0.03 .469 .444 .826

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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