Anthony Davis third in Most Improved Player balloting

by Jim Eichenhofer
@Jim_Eichenhofer

Partly behind one of the league’s biggest scoring increases from last season to 2013-14, New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis vaulted his name into the running for the NBA’s Most Improved Player award. He didn’t quite win it, but when the NBA announced final voting results Wednesday, the All-Star power forward finished third overall, behind only Phoenix guard Goran Dragic and Indiana guard Lance Stephenson.

Dragic won by a relatively comfortable margin, earning 65 of 126 first-place votes. Dragic netted 408 total points, doubling the overall scores of both Stephenson (158 points) and Davis (155 points).

After Dragic’s 65 first-place votes, Davis and Phoenix guard Gerald Green earned the next-most No. 1 spot votes, at 16 apiece. Earlier in the week, Davis finished in the top 10 of another NBA season-ending award race, taking eighth place in the Defensive Player of the Year balloting.

The 6-foot-10 power forward upped his scoring average by 7.3 points, going from 13.5 as a rookie to a team-leading 20.8 in 2013-14. His rebounding average went from 8.2 to 10.0, while his blocks per game zoomed from 1.8 to an NBA-leading 2.8. Davis also improved his foul shooting, from 75.1 to 79.1 percent, one of the best rates among NBA power forwards.