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3 Most Improved Players of 2018

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Improving is something every NBA player is (or should be) doing every time they step on the floor. Not only does it help their game, but improving can drastically change the outlook of a franchise. As we close the book on 2018, several players have made their case to be crowned the NBA’s Most Improved.

Granted, we still have over half the season left. But if the season ended today, who’s got the best resume? Let’s take a look at some of the candidates..

1. De’Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings

2017-18: 73 GP, 60 GS, 11.6 PPG, 4.4 APG, 2.8 RPG, 1.0 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 41% FG, 31% 3Pt, 27.8 MPG

2018 (so far): 36 GP, 36 GS, 18.3 PPG, 7.7 APG, 3.6 RPG, 1.7 SPG, 0.6 BPG, 47% FG, 39% 3Pt, 31.9 MPG

The second year point guard has been slashing and dashing all season long for the Kings, who have pleasantly surprised us with a 19-17 record heading into 2019. In addition to his pal Buddy Hield (we’ll get to him in just a second), Fox’s elevated play has given a name to the usually lottery bound Kings. The backbone to his play is simple– he’s very confident in himself.

2. Buddy Hield, Sacramento Kings

2017-18: 80 GP, 12 GS, 13.5 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 1.9 APG, 25.3 MPG, 45% FG, 43% 3Pt

2018 (so far): 36 GP, 36 GS, 19.7 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 2.3 APG, 31.2 MPG, 47% FG, 42% 3Pt

Now for Fox’s partner in crime. The third year pro out of Oklahoma has turned into a pure scorer so far this season, including a recent stretch of near 30 PPG basketball.

Hield is turning into an elite scorer, and the league needs to take notice if anyone hasn’t already. Dave Joerger has finally deployed both Hield and Fox for north of 30 minutes per contest, which has showed their true  value. A Sacramento playoff appearance — their first since 2006 — would enhance any most improved resume even further.

3. Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors

2017-18: 81 GP, 5 GS, 7.3 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 2.0 APG, 0.8 SPG. 20.7 MPG, 51% FG, 22% 3Pt

2018 (so far): 37 GP, 36 GS, 14.5 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 2.7 APG, 1.0 SPG, 30.6 MPG, 58% FG, 33% 3Pt

Benefitting from Nick Nurse‘s new system the most is none other than Pascal Siakam. He appeared in all but just one contest last season– though he did so in a much more reserved role (logging only five starts compared to 35 already this season). So far, Nurse has opted to insert Siakam into Toronto’s starting lineup, flexing Serge Ibaka to the five and moving Jonas Valanciunas to a reserve role. Siakam fits in virtually perfectly alongside Ibaka and Kawhi Leonard in Toronto’s frontcourt– a big reason they sit near the top of the East heading into the new year.

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About Eric Peterson

CEO and Content Manager at TLSM and Bucks Lead branch. Currently studying Sport Management at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Twitter: @EricTLSM

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