Most Improved Player. That’s not so easy to define, although there’s much less at stake than, say, with the MVP award. Among the names being mentioned this year are Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge, Eric Gordon, Dorell Wright, and even Derrick Rose (can you win this and MVP?). Of course, mine is a statistics-focused blog, so I need a way to measure it. MIP shouldn’t just go to the guy who plays more minutes. In that case, Dorell Wright would easily win the award. Of course, Blake Griffin played 0 minutes last season, so by that criterion…Yeah, it’s really not about minutes. It should be about who played better in those minutes. The only criterion I have about minutes is that the player should have a major role on his team.
In the other awards that I’ve done so far (MVP, DPOY, and 6th Man), I’ve blended ezPM and 1-yr RAPM, but I’m going to do it a little differently for this one. I just got my hands on 2009-2010 1-yr RAPM data (courtesy of Jeremias Engelmann), and am planning to test the year-to-year correlation, but I expect that there is probably quite a bit of variance. I wouldn’t want large random errors to skew the blend, so I did this in two stages. First, I found the players with the biggest positive deltas according to ezPM100. Next, I calculated the change of 1-yr RAPM, and eliminated any players that were negative. I figure if both metrics can’t agree that the player improved, he’s probably not the best candidate, anyway. By the way, players eliminated after this step who would have been in contention according to ezPM alone included Kwame Brown (would’ve been #1 otherwise), Chuck Hayes, Kevin Love, Tyler Hansbrough, Rudy Gay, Jordan Farmar, and Ray Allen.
Here are the top 15 candidates, sorted by the change in their WARP per 36 minutes, along with their RAPM data and number of possessions in each year:
The City Top 15 Most improved
As you can see, the 2011 The City MIP is Thaddeus Young of the 76ers. And hey, for all the Warriors fans reading this, Reggie and Monta made the top 15. That kind of surprised me actually.