Indiana’s Paul George, who earned his first All-Star Game berth en route to leading the Pacers to the Central Division crown and the No. 3 seed in the eastern Conference playoffs, is the winner of the 2012-13 Kia NBA Most Improved Player Award, the NBA announced today.
The annual award is presented to a player who has made a significant improvement from the previous season.
George received 311 of a possible 1,080 points, including 52 first-place votes, from a panel of 120 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada. Greivis Vasquez of the New Orleans (146 points, 13 first-place votes) and the Milwaukee Bucks’ Larry Sanders (141 points, 10 first-place votes) finished second and third, respectively. Players were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third place vote received.
George, who entered the 2012-13 campaign with career averages of 10.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.3 steals, established career highs in each of those statistics – a team-high 17.4 points, along with 7.6 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.8 steals. George was the only player in the league to record at least 140 steals (143) and 50 blocks (51). He had nineteen games with at least three steals, and 29 games with at least one steal and one block. According to NBA.com/Stats, in the 81 games in which George appeared, the Pacers had a +5.9 score differential when he was on the court compared with -2.0 score differential when he was on the bench.
Cavaliers power forward Tristan Thompson received two third-place votes.