Dejounte will be Snubbed?
San Antonio Spurs guard Dejounte Murray (5) during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks, Friday, Nov. 12, 2021, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Dejounte Murray will be snubbed in a terrible way when the NBA announces its Most Improved Player of the Year Award. The NBA named Murray a finalist, along with Ja Morant of Memphis and Darius Garland of Cleveland. It is an award Dejounte has no chance of winning.

Morant improved from 19 points per game last season to 27 points per game this year.

Garland averaged nearly 22 points per game and 8.6 assists.

Dejounte led the league in steals while averaging 21 points per game, 9 assists and 8 rebounds.

All 3 players had impressive seasons and made the all-star team.

So how is Dejounte going to be snubbed? For me, it’s because Ja Morant and Darius Garland should *not be considered for the award. Ja Morant was drafted second overall in the 2019 NBA draft, while Garland was selected fifth overall that same night. Why are top draft picks being considered for an award that honors improvement? These guys are *supposed to be stars, relative to where they were drafted. Dejounte Murray’s all-star season came out of nowhere, especially considering he was passed over by most teams and drafted 29th overall back in 2016.

Historically, this should be Dejounte’s award. From 1994 to 2017, only two players drafted in the top 9 won the Most Improved Player  – Kevin Love in 2011 and Tracy McGrady in 2001. They were drafted fifth and ninth respectively in their drafts. Unfortunately, a trend of rewarding top draft picks with this honor started in 2018 when Victor Oladipo, the 2nd overall pick, won the award. Another 2nd overall pick, Brandon Ingram, took home the prize in 2020. Julius Randle won Most Improved Player last season, despite being a 7th overall draft pick.

Again, these top picks are supposed to be stars! They are supposed to be good! Instead, they are taking home awards for simply not being a bust. I’m not a fan of this change. Dejounte deserves this award. Guess this means players like Anthony Edwards and LaMelo Ball are the favorites for Most Improved Player… next year.

– Michael Jimenez