Pacers O'Neal Wins Most Improved Player Award
Posted Apr 25 2002 7:12PM
Forward-center set career-highs in points, rebounds, assists and steals
NEW YORK, April 25 -- Indiana's Jermaine O'Neal, who was selected to his first-ever NBA All-Star team this season, was named the winner of the 2001-02 NBA Most Improved Player Award. The award honors a player who has made a dramatic improvement from the previous season or seasons.
O'Neal posted career-highs in points (19.0 ppg), rebounds (10.5 rpg), assists (1.6 apg), steals (.63 spg) and minutes (37.6 mpg) during the regular season and finished in the top ten in the NBA in rebounds and blocks (2.31 bpg). The 6-foot-11, 230-pound forward also led the Pacers in scoring, rebounds, blocks and minutes played, and finished fourth on the team in field goal percentage (.479). He recorded a career-high 38 points (15-20 FGA, 8-9 FTA) in a 109-103 win at Cleveland on December 22, 2001 and also posted career-highs in defensive rebounds (17 vs. Charlotte on January 25), assists (five vs. Orlando on March 5) and steals (five vs. N.J. on December 21) this season.
Selected by Portland in the first round (17th overall) of the 1996 NBA Draft, O'Neal played four seasons with the Trail Blazers averaging 3.9 ppg and 3.1 rpg over 211 games. Prior to the 2000-01 season O'Neal was traded to Indiana with Joe Kleine for forward Dale Davis and has averaged 15.8 ppg and 10.1 rpg over two seasons with the Pacers. He improved his scoring average from 12.9 ppg last season to 19.0 ppg this season, increased his field goal shooting percentage from .465 to .479, and improved his free throw shooting by hitting a career-high .688 from the line.
The 126-member voting panel consisted of 39 national media members and three media members who cover the NBA regularly from each of the league's 29 teams. Attached are the voting results for this year's NBA Most Improved Player Award and the all-time list of winners.
2001-02 NBA MOST IMPROVED PLAYER AWARD VOTING RESULTS
ALL-TIME NBA MOST IMPROVED PLAYER AWARD WINNERS