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SPM’s Most Improved Players

Posted by Neil Paine on May 14, 2009

Congrats are in order to Danny Granger this week for winning the NBA's Most Improved Player Award for the 2008-09 season. Now, this award is often decried by statheads for its insistence on identifying players who haven't really improved at all but have just seen more playing time, but Granger actually did make a leap in production from 2008 to 2009. Not the biggest leap, mind you, but a leap nonetheless. Here's what SPM says about the biggest year-to-year differences from '08 to '09 (minimum 500 MP in both seasons):

Player Ag Tm Ht Pos 2009 2008 Diff
DwyaneWade 27 MIA 76 G 11.49 3.27 8.22
FranciscoElson 32 MIL 84 C -1.26 -7.28 6.02
CharlieVillanueva 24 MIL 83 F 2.41 -2.85 5.26
DanGadzuric 30 MIL 83 C -0.54 -4.61 4.07
SergioRodriguez 22 POR 75 G -0.49 -4.55 4.06
KevinDurant 20 OKC 81 F 2.32 -1.54 3.86
DominicMcGuire 23 WAS 81 F -1.28 -5.10 3.82
BobbySimmons 28 NJN 79 G 0.14 -3.64 3.78
ShaquilleO'Neal 36 PHO 85 C 3.68 -0.03 3.71
NenadKrstic 25 OKC 84 C -3.91 -7.60 3.69
JameerNelson 26 ORL 72 G 4.81 1.15 3.65
AndersonVarejao 26 CLE 82 F 1.21 -2.17 3.38
JeffGreen 22 OKC 81 F -0.80 -4.13 3.33
MattBonner 28 SAS 82 F 2.30 -1.00 3.29
RajonRondo 22 BOS 73 G 5.29 2.03 3.26
SashaVujacic 24 LAL 79 G 2.44 -0.69 3.13
DannyGranger 25 IND 80 F 4.93 1.91 3.02
LukeRidnour 27 MIL 74 G 0.65 -2.24 2.89
SashaPavlovic 25 CLE 80 G -2.56 -5.34 2.78
MikeConley 21 MEM 73 G 0.16 -2.62 2.78
AcieLaw 24 ATL 75 G -4.23 -6.98 2.75
ZazaPachulia 24 ATL 83 C -0.96 -3.64 2.68
DelonteWest 25 CLE 76 G 1.39 -1.25 2.64
RonaldMurray 29 ATL 76 G -1.00 -3.58 2.58
DarkoMilicic 23 MEM 84 F -1.72 -4.28 2.57
NateRobinson 24 NYK 69 G 3.44 0.99 2.45
JoelPrzybilla 29 POR 85 C 0.48 -1.89 2.38
LeBronJames 24 CLE 80 F 14.91 12.61 2.30
BrandonRoy 24 POR 78 G 6.13 3.83 2.30
AlHorford 22 ATL 82 C 1.57 -0.71 2.28
DevinHarris 25 NJN 75 G 4.48 2.23 2.25
BorisDiaw 26 2TM 80 F -0.15 -2.37 2.22
DwightHoward 23 ORL 83 C 6.75 4.53 2.21
SteveBlake 28 POR 75 G 1.55 -0.66 2.21
TravisDiener 26 IND 73 G 1.03 -1.18 2.21
MardyCollins 24 2TM 78 G -4.40 -6.49 2.09
SpencerHawes 20 SAC 84 C -2.90 -4.98 2.08
ThaboSefolosha 24 2TM 77 G 0.51 -1.57 2.08
YiJianlian 21 NJN 84 F -3.22 -5.20 1.99
RaymondFelton 24 CHA 73 G 0.28 -1.71 1.98
TroyMurphy 28 IND 83 F 4.17 2.25 1.92
MarvinWilliams 22 ATL 81 F 0.36 -1.55 1.92
JasonKidd 35 DAL 76 G 6.27 4.36 1.91
MikeBibby 30 ATL 73 G 1.78 -0.11 1.89
AndrisBiedrins 22 GSW 83 C 2.84 1.03 1.80
ChrisPaul 23 NOH 72 G 12.65 10.93 1.72
WilsonChandler 21 NYK 80 F -1.48 -3.16 1.68
GeraldWallace 26 CHA 79 F 5.48 3.83 1.66
JaredJeffries 27 NYK 83 F -2.31 -3.92 1.61
WallySzczerbiak 31 CLE 79 F -1.03 -2.64 1.61
LeandroBarbosa 26 PHO 75 G 2.09 0.49 1.59
TonyParker 26 SAS 74 G 2.19 0.65 1.54
BrianScalabrine 30 BOS 81 F -2.07 -3.59 1.52
JoakimNoah 23 CHI 83 C 2.98 1.48 1.50
EddieHouse 30 BOS 73 G 2.18 0.69 1.49
JaredDudley 23 2TM 79 F 0.59 -0.89 1.48
KwameBrown 26 DET 83 F -0.76 -2.23 1.47
MattBarnes 28 PHO 79 F 1.07 -0.40 1.46
AndreMiller 32 PHI 74 G 2.72 1.27 1.46
AndreaBargnani 23 TOR 84 F -0.88 -2.33 1.45
HakimWarrick 26 MEM 81 F -1.45 -2.87 1.42
RoyalIvey 27 PHI 75 G -2.15 -3.57 1.42
RandyFoye 25 MIN 76 G -0.26 -1.67 1.40
TrentonHassell 29 NJN 77 G -5.58 -6.93 1.35
JavarisCrittenton 21 2TM 77 G -4.11 -5.45 1.34
RenaldoBalkman 24 DEN 80 F 1.76 0.43 1.32
JohnSalmons 29 2TM 79 G -0.28 -1.58 1.30
DaequanCook 21 MIA 77 G -3.26 -4.56 1.30
LarryHughes 30 2TM 77 G -0.22 -1.52 1.30
KirkHinrich 28 CHI 75 G 1.43 0.14 1.30
EmekaOkafor 26 CHA 82 F -0.18 -1.46 1.28
DariusSongaila 30 WAS 81 F -2.07 -3.26 1.19
KenyonMartin 31 DEN 81 F 0.21 -0.93 1.14
MoWilliams 26 CLE 73 G 1.31 0.18 1.13
RonnyTuriaf 26 GSW 82 F 1.61 0.52 1.09
LuisScola 28 HOU 81 F 1.04 -0.01 1.05
DrewGooden 27 3TM 82 F -2.24 -3.29 1.05
PauGasol 28 LAL 84 F 3.45 2.43 1.03
RaferAlston 32 2TM 74 G 1.84 0.82 1.02
TonyAllen 27 BOS 76 G -0.49 -1.50 1.00
LaMarcusAldridge 23 POR 83 F 1.32 0.35 0.97
LeonPowe 25 BOS 80 F 1.73 0.82 0.92
PaulMillsap 23 UTA 80 F 2.98 2.06 0.91
StephenJackson 30 GSW 80 F 0.89 -0.02 0.91
AlJefferson 24 MIN 82 F 2.03 1.13 0.90
DerekFisher 34 LAL 73 G 0.07 -0.83 0.90
ZachRandolph 27 2TM 81 F 0.51 -0.34 0.85
TrevorAriza 23 LAL 80 F 3.16 2.33 0.84
JoeJohnson 27 ATL 80 G 2.07 1.30 0.76
QuentinRichardson 28 NYK 78 G -1.76 -2.47 0.72
AndresNocioni 29 2TM 79 F -0.66 -1.36 0.70
HiltonArmstrong 24 NOH 83 F -3.83 -4.51 0.68
DavidLee(II) 25 NYK 81 F 1.21 0.56 0.65
KelennaAzubuike 25 GSW 77 G -1.91 -2.55 0.64
MikeJames 33 2TM 74 G -4.36 -4.98 0.61
NickYoung 23 WAS 78 G -5.58 -6.16 0.59
AntonioMcDyess 34 DET 81 F 1.04 0.47 0.57
RasualButler 29 NOH 79 G -2.13 -2.70 0.57
JermaineO'Neal 30 2TM 83 F -1.99 -2.55 0.56
AntoineWright 24 DAL 79 G -3.11 -3.65 0.54
GlenDavis 23 BOS 81 F -1.35 -1.79 0.44
KeyonDooling 28 NJN 75 G -1.17 -1.59 0.41
RayAllen 33 BOS 77 G 2.48 2.09 0.39
NickCollison 28 OKC 81 F 0.53 0.14 0.39
MikeMiller 28 MIN 80 F 1.16 0.77 0.39
TimDuncan 32 SAS 83 F 6.39 6.02 0.37
TyronnLue 31 2TM 72 G -3.89 -4.25 0.36
J.R.Smith 23 DEN 78 G 2.26 1.90 0.35
ShaneBattier 30 HOU 80 F 2.22 1.88 0.35
BenGordon 25 CHI 75 G 0.06 -0.27 0.33
DeronWilliams 24 UTA 75 G 2.40 2.08 0.32
WillieGreen 27 PHI 76 G -3.24 -3.49 0.25
RogerMason 28 SAS 77 G -1.32 -1.57 0.25
JoeSmith 33 2TM 82 F -1.81 -2.06 0.25
BenWallace 34 CLE 81 F 0.87 0.63 0.23
TyrusThomas 22 CHI 81 F 0.39 0.16 0.23
CraigSmith 25 MIN 79 F -1.59 -1.82 0.23
VinceCarter 32 NJN 79 G 3.79 3.57 0.22
RashardLewis 29 ORL 82 F 3.67 3.47 0.21
LouisWilliams 22 PHI 74 G 1.04 0.87 0.17
AnthonyJohnson 34 ORL 75 G -1.97 -2.13 0.16
QuintonRoss 27 MEM 78 G -4.26 -4.41 0.15
CarmeloAnthony 24 DEN 80 F 2.40 2.26 0.14
LamarOdom 29 LAL 82 F 2.79 2.66 0.13
FredJones 29 LAC 76 G -0.85 -0.95 0.11
MalikAllen 30 MIL 82 F -5.67 -5.76 0.09
MarquisDaniels 28 IND 78 G -3.09 -3.17 0.08
RichardJefferson 28 MIL 79 F 0.34 0.26 0.08
TravisOutlaw 24 POR 81 F -0.69 -0.76 0.07
MichaelFinley 35 SAS 79 G -2.19 -2.24 0.06
AaronGray 24 CHI 84 C -0.86 -0.88 0.02
ChrisDuhon 26 NYK 73 G -1.61 -1.63 0.02
JohanPetro 23 2TM 84 C -4.88 -4.89 0.01
SebastianTelfair 23 MIN 72 G -3.09 -3.06 -0.03
JasonTerry 31 DAL 74 G 2.07 2.11 -0.04
JasonKapono 27 TOR 80 F -5.23 -5.19 -0.04
BenoUdrih 26 SAC 75 G -2.89 -2.84 -0.04
LuolDeng 23 CHI 80 F -1.31 -1.26 -0.05
AaronBrooks 24 HOU 72 G -1.57 -1.52 -0.05
RashadMcCants 24 2TM 76 G -1.47 -1.42 -0.05
MichaelRedd 29 MIL 78 G 1.09 1.17 -0.08
MikkiMoore 33 2TM 83 C -2.40 -2.26 -0.13
DeveanGeorge 31 DAL 80 G -3.99 -3.81 -0.18
RodneyCarney 24 MIN 79 F -2.27 -2.09 -0.18
SheldenWilliams 25 2TM 81 F -3.87 -3.65 -0.22
ZydrunasIlgauskas 33 CLE 87 C -0.46 -0.23 -0.23
KyleKorver 27 UTA 79 F -0.34 -0.11 -0.23
AlThornton 25 LAC 80 F -3.94 -3.69 -0.25
RodneyStuckey 22 DET 77 G -0.36 -0.09 -0.28
MehmetOkur 29 UTA 83 F 1.72 2.01 -0.28
YaoMing 28 HOU 90 C 2.63 2.94 -0.31
KyleLowry 22 2TM 72 G 1.04 1.35 -0.31
JarrettJack 25 IND 75 G -1.67 -1.36 -0.32
GregBuckner 32 MEM 76 G -3.10 -2.76 -0.34
YakhoubaDiawara 26 MIA 79 F -5.08 -4.67 -0.40
GrantHill 36 PHO 80 F 0.31 0.72 -0.41
UdonisHaslem 28 MIA 80 F -3.25 -2.82 -0.43
RonArtest 29 HOU 78 F 3.49 3.92 -0.43
JoshBoone 24 NJN 82 F -2.29 -1.84 -0.45
AntawnJamison 32 WAS 80 F 2.79 3.24 -0.45
MattHarpring 32 UTA 79 F -2.77 -2.31 -0.46
JamarioMoon 28 2TM 80 F 1.21 1.70 -0.49
ManuGinobili 31 SAS 78 G 9.01 9.55 -0.54
RashoNesterovic 32 IND 84 C -2.18 -1.61 -0.58
KeithBogans 28 2TM 77 G -0.26 0.37 -0.63
ErickDampier 33 DAL 83 C 1.01 1.64 -0.63
LukeWalton 28 LAL 80 F -2.28 -1.62 -0.66
ThaddeusYoung 20 PHI 80 F -1.29 -0.62 -0.66
TayshaunPrince 28 DET 81 F -0.53 0.16 -0.69
BradMiller 32 2TM 83 C 2.29 3.04 -0.75
DanielGibson 22 CLE 74 G -1.38 -0.62 -0.76
ArronAfflalo 23 DET 77 G -3.30 -2.54 -0.76
KurtThomas 36 SAS 81 F 0.56 1.35 -0.79
AnthonyParker 33 TOR 78 G 0.02 0.83 -0.82
BrandonBass 23 DAL 80 F -3.66 -2.80 -0.86
AndrewBogut 24 MIL 84 C 0.25 1.16 -0.91
TracyMcGrady 29 HOU 80 F 2.47 3.40 -0.93
DeSaganaDiop 27 2TM 84 C -1.87 -0.94 -0.93
CharlieBell 29 MIL 75 G -2.70 -1.77 -0.93
KendrickPerkins 24 BOS 82 C -0.86 0.13 -0.99
HedoTurkoglu 29 ORL 82 F 2.43 3.42 -1.00
MickaelPietrus 26 ORL 78 G -0.25 0.80 -1.05
RonnieBrewer 23 UTA 79 G 1.04 2.13 -1.09
FranciscoGarcia 27 SAC 79 F -0.03 1.07 -1.10
RajaBell 32 2TM 77 G -1.47 -0.36 -1.11
BrevinKnight 33 UTA 70 G -1.50 -0.38 -1.12
JasonMaxiell 25 DET 79 F -1.30 -0.14 -1.16
AlHarrington 28 2TM 81 F 0.12 1.33 -1.21
DevinBrown 30 NOH 77 G -3.55 -2.34 -1.21
DavidWest 28 NOH 81 F 0.15 1.37 -1.22
RichardHamilton 30 DET 78 G 0.02 1.25 -1.23
AndreIguodala 25 PHI 78 G 4.24 5.48 -1.24
BrianSkinner 32 LAC 81 F -4.70 -3.42 -1.28
BruceBowen 37 SAS 79 F -2.88 -1.59 -1.29
AndreiKirilenko 27 UTA 81 F 2.63 3.94 -1.30
KevinMartin 25 SAC 79 G 1.79 3.11 -1.33
LinasKleiza 24 DEN 80 F -2.60 -1.24 -1.36
KobeBryant 30 LAL 78 G 6.48 7.86 -1.38
MarcusCamby 34 LAC 83 F 2.52 3.92 -1.40
JamalCrawford 28 2TM 78 G -1.45 -0.04 -1.40
TimThomas 31 3TM 82 F -1.54 -0.10 -1.43
JeffFoster 32 IND 83 F 0.78 2.21 -1.43
ChrisBosh 24 TOR 82 F 3.67 5.11 -1.44
JoseCalderon 27 TOR 75 G 2.54 3.98 -1.45
ReggieEvans 28 PHI 80 F -1.60 -0.15 -1.45
AndrayBlatche 22 WAS 83 F -1.69 -0.21 -1.48
SteveNash 34 PHO 75 G 0.48 1.96 -1.48
JoshHoward 28 DAL 79 F 0.20 1.69 -1.48
MauriceEvans 30 ATL 77 G -2.04 -0.55 -1.48
PejaStojakovic 31 NOH 81 F -0.70 0.79 -1.48
T.J.Ford 25 IND 72 G -0.48 1.01 -1.50
ChrisQuinn 25 MIA 74 G -1.88 -0.26 -1.62
BobbyJackson 35 SAC 73 G -1.46 0.24 -1.69
ImeUdoka 31 SAS 78 F -1.52 0.18 -1.70
AnthonyCarter 33 DEN 73 G -1.68 0.12 -1.80
RyanGomes 26 MIN 79 F -2.43 -0.60 -1.83
JuanDixon 30 WAS 75 G -5.47 -3.62 -1.85
VladimirRadmanovic 28 2TM 82 F -2.04 -0.08 -1.96
MorrisPeterson 31 NOH 79 F -2.97 -1.01 -1.96
PaulPierce 31 BOS 78 F 3.30 5.30 -2.00
JoshPowell 26 LAL 81 F -7.56 -5.50 -2.05
RasheedWallace 34 DET 82 F 3.18 5.26 -2.08
AndrewBynum 21 LAL 84 C 0.90 3.06 -2.15
AllenIverson 33 2TM 72 G -0.05 2.12 -2.16
SamuelDalembert 27 PHI 83 C -3.38 -1.17 -2.21
ChuckHayes 25 HOU 78 F -0.30 1.99 -2.28
RudyGay 22 MEM 81 F -1.26 1.10 -2.36
CarlLandry 25 HOU 81 F -0.62 1.79 -2.41
JoshSmith 23 ATL 81 F 1.71 4.13 -2.43
DesmondMason 31 OKC 79 F -6.07 -3.50 -2.57
FabricioOberto 33 SAS 82 F -1.27 1.35 -2.62
C.J.Miles 21 UTA 78 G -1.91 0.78 -2.70
DamienWilkins 29 OKC 78 F -4.61 -1.87 -2.73
JasonRichardson 28 2TM 78 G 1.00 3.82 -2.82
AntonioDaniels 33 2TM 76 G -3.43 -0.57 -2.85
CoreyMaggette 29 GSW 78 F 0.03 2.93 -2.90
JordanFarmar 22 LAL 74 G -3.11 -0.20 -2.91
JarvisHayes 27 NJN 79 F -3.27 -0.33 -2.94
MattCarroll 28 2TM 78 G -5.89 -2.92 -2.97
ChrisWilcox 26 2TM 82 F -3.45 -0.45 -3.00
JamesPosey 32 NOH 80 F 0.43 3.47 -3.04
CarlosBoozer 27 UTA 81 F 0.60 3.68 -3.08
JulianWright 21 NOH 80 F -3.52 -0.43 -3.09
CaronButler 28 WAS 79 F 1.98 5.08 -3.10
DeShawnStevenson 27 WAS 77 G -4.02 -0.89 -3.13
MontaEllis 23 GSW 75 G -3.25 -0.07 -3.18
EarlWatson 29 OKC 73 G -3.76 -0.54 -3.23
RickyDavis 29 LAC 78 G -5.12 -1.86 -3.25
RonniePrice 25 UTA 74 G -3.45 -0.16 -3.28
DirkNowitzki 30 DAL 84 F 3.51 6.96 -3.45
AmirJohnson 21 DET 81 F 0.52 4.04 -3.52
ChanningFrye 25 POR 83 F -4.43 -0.85 -3.59
BaronDavis 29 LAC 75 G 1.44 5.12 -3.68
JamesJones 28 MIA 80 F -3.45 0.25 -3.70
TysonChandler 26 NOH 85 C -2.64 1.07 -3.72
ChrisKaman 26 LAC 84 C -3.80 -0.06 -3.73
KevinGarnett 32 BOS 83 F 3.93 7.72 -3.80
ChaunceyBillups 32 2TM 75 G 3.37 7.55 -4.19
MarkoJaric 30 MEM 79 G -4.17 0.17 -4.34
AmareStoudemire 26 PHO 82 F 1.22 6.04 -4.82
ShawnMarion 30 2TM 79 F -0.23 4.84 -5.08
BrentBarry 37 HOU 78 G -1.48 3.83 -5.31

Random fluctuations can happen between single seasons, though, so what about the players whose estimated "true SPM skill" level changed the most between 07-08 & 08-09:

Player Ag Tm Ht Pos 2009 2008 Diff
DwyaneWade 28 MIA 76 G 9.04 4.71 4.32
CharlieVillanueva 25 MIL 83 F 0.70 -2.49 3.19
KevinDurant 21 OKC 81 F 1.09 -1.69 2.78
DominicMcGuire 24 WAS 81 F -1.69 -4.26 2.57
LeBronJames 25 CLE 80 F 12.76 10.33 2.43
JeffGreen 23 OKC 81 F -1.56 -3.98 2.42
RajonRondo 23 BOS 73 G 3.87 1.55 2.32
DannyGranger 26 IND 80 F 3.17 0.98 2.19
MikeConley 22 MEM 73 G -0.42 -2.61 2.19
MattBonner 29 SAS 82 F 1.39 -0.77 2.16
SashaVujacic 25 LAL 79 G 1.01 -1.15 2.15
RonaldMurray 30 ATL 76 G -1.58 -3.63 2.05
ChrisPaul 24 NOH 72 G 10.93 8.90 2.02
NateRobinson 25 NYK 69 G 2.34 0.39 1.95
BrandonRoy 25 POR 78 G 4.82 2.89 1.94
SergioRodriguez 23 POR 75 G -1.24 -3.17 1.93
TroyMurphy 29 IND 83 F 3.09 1.18 1.92
JameerNelson 27 ORL 72 G 2.41 0.50 1.91
ShaquilleO'Neal 37 PHO 85 C 2.47 0.61 1.85
BobbySimmons 29 NJN 79 G -0.90 -2.74 1.84
DwightHoward 24 ORL 83 C 5.39 3.62 1.77
FranciscoElson 33 MIL 84 C -2.41 -4.17 1.77
DevinHarris 26 NJN 75 G 3.38 1.63 1.75
SteveBlake 29 POR 75 G 0.36 -1.37 1.73
TrevorAriza 24 LAL 80 F 2.45 0.79 1.66
DanGadzuric 31 MIL 83 C -1.47 -3.12 1.65
AlHorford 23 ATL 82 C 0.69 -0.95 1.64
ThaboSefolosha 25 2TM 77 G -0.45 -2.08 1.63
EddieHouse 31 BOS 73 G 1.17 -0.38 1.55
MarvinWilliams 23 ATL 81 F -0.62 -2.13 1.50
JoelPrzybilla 30 POR 85 C -0.34 -1.84 1.49
LeonPowe 26 BOS 80 F 0.80 -0.70 1.49
LukeRidnour 28 MIL 74 G -0.21 -1.67 1.46
AcieLaw 25 ATL 75 G -4.39 -5.80 1.41
JoakimNoah 24 CHI 83 C 2.20 0.82 1.39
AndrisBiedrins 23 GSW 83 C 1.71 0.34 1.37
SpencerHawes 21 SAC 84 C -3.01 -4.35 1.34
DelonteWest 26 CLE 76 G 0.51 -0.83 1.34
WilsonChandler 22 NYK 80 F -1.60 -2.89 1.29
YiJianlian 22 NJN 84 F -3.54 -4.81 1.27
MikeBibby 31 ATL 73 G 1.10 -0.16 1.26
AndreMiller 33 PHI 74 G 1.97 0.82 1.15
AndersonVarejao 27 CLE 82 F 0.64 -0.49 1.14
TravisDiener 27 IND 73 G -0.28 -1.41 1.13
HakimWarrick 27 MEM 81 F -1.89 -3.02 1.13
LaMarcusAldridge 24 POR 83 F 0.78 -0.34 1.11
RaymondFelton 25 CHA 73 G -0.33 -1.41 1.08
RandyFoye 26 MIN 76 G -0.63 -1.71 1.08
SashaPavlovic 26 CLE 80 G -2.94 -4.00 1.06
JaredDudley 24 2TM 79 F -0.13 -1.18 1.05
RoyalIvey 28 PHI 75 G -2.61 -3.65 1.05
AndreaBargnani 24 TOR 84 F -1.26 -2.29 1.03
TonyParker 27 SAS 74 G 1.53 0.52 1.01
LuisScola 29 HOU 81 F 0.62 -0.37 0.99
JohnSalmons 30 2TM 79 G -0.64 -1.62 0.99
MoWilliams 27 CLE 73 G 0.79 -0.19 0.98
MattBarnes 29 PHO 79 F 0.60 -0.36 0.96
KwameBrown 27 DET 83 F -1.08 -2.02 0.93
GeraldWallace 27 CHA 79 F 4.58 3.65 0.93
RonnyTuriaf 27 GSW 82 F 0.99 0.06 0.92
J.R.Smith 24 DEN 78 G 1.78 0.86 0.92
KenyonMartin 32 DEN 81 F -0.25 -1.16 0.91
DaequanCook 22 MIA 77 G -3.32 -4.21 0.89
BorisDiaw 27 2TM 80 F -0.78 -1.65 0.87
JasonKidd 36 DAL 76 G 5.36 4.54 0.81
DariusSongaila 31 WAS 81 F -2.36 -3.16 0.80
DeronWilliams 25 UTA 75 G 1.94 1.15 0.79
PaulMillsap 24 UTA 80 F 2.42 1.64 0.79
NenadKrstic 26 OKC 84 C -4.00 -4.79 0.78
NickCollison 29 OKC 81 F 0.03 -0.75 0.77
JoeJohnson 28 ATL 80 G 1.63 0.85 0.77
StephenJackson 31 GSW 80 F 0.36 -0.39 0.76
AntoineWright 25 DAL 79 G -3.08 -3.82 0.74
AlJefferson 25 MIN 82 F 1.36 0.63 0.74
BrianScalabrine 31 BOS 81 F -2.24 -2.96 0.72
KeyonDooling 29 NJN 75 G -1.35 -2.05 0.70
KelennaAzubuike 26 GSW 77 G -2.03 -2.72 0.68
DarkoMilicic 24 MEM 84 F -2.19 -2.87 0.68
LeandroBarbosa 27 PHO 75 G 1.44 0.77 0.67
WillieGreen 28 PHI 76 G -3.32 -3.97 0.65
RasualButler 30 NOH 79 G -2.15 -2.79 0.64
LouisWilliams 23 PHI 74 G 0.67 0.04 0.63
WallySzczerbiak 32 CLE 79 F -1.53 -2.16 0.62
JavarisCrittenton 22 2TM 77 G -3.88 -4.48 0.60
RogerMason 29 SAS 77 G -1.44 -2.01 0.58
LarryHughes 31 2TM 77 G -0.74 -1.31 0.57
DerekFisher 35 LAL 73 G -0.34 -0.90 0.57
MardyCollins 25 2TM 78 G -4.10 -4.66 0.56
RaferAlston 33 2TM 74 G 1.38 0.83 0.55
GlenDavis 24 BOS 81 F -1.43 -1.93 0.50
RenaldoBalkman 25 DEN 80 F 0.92 0.43 0.49
ZachRandolph 28 2TM 81 F 0.31 -0.15 0.46
EmekaOkafor 27 CHA 82 F -0.36 -0.82 0.46
FredJones 30 LAC 76 G -1.02 -1.45 0.43
PauGasol 29 LAL 84 F 2.99 2.56 0.43
AntonioMcDyess 35 DET 81 F 0.74 0.31 0.43
TravisOutlaw 25 POR 81 F -0.78 -1.20 0.42
MickaelPietrus 27 ORL 78 G -0.39 -0.78 0.39
KurtThomas 37 SAS 81 F 0.29 -0.09 0.38
RodneyCarney 25 MIN 79 F -2.28 -2.65 0.37
ZazaPachulia 25 ATL 83 C -1.17 -1.53 0.35
TonyAllen 28 BOS 76 G -0.81 -1.15 0.35
AntawnJamison 33 WAS 80 F 2.61 2.27 0.34
ShaneBattier 31 HOU 80 F 1.78 1.46 0.32
RashadMcCants 25 2TM 76 G -1.52 -1.83 0.31
MalikAllen 31 MIL 82 F -4.83 -5.13 0.30
JoeSmith 34 2TM 82 F -1.91 -2.19 0.29
TyrusThomas 23 CHI 81 F 0.24 -0.04 0.28
AaronGray 25 CHI 84 C -1.05 -1.33 0.28
JohanPetro 24 2TM 84 C -4.12 -4.39 0.27
AndrewBynum 22 LAL 84 C 0.69 0.42 0.27
LamarOdom 30 LAL 82 F 2.42 2.15 0.27
DavidLee(II) 26 NYK 81 F 1.06 0.79 0.27
JaredJeffries 28 NYK 83 F -2.44 -2.69 0.25
RashardLewis 30 ORL 82 F 3.38 3.13 0.25
HiltonArmstrong 25 NOH 83 F -3.53 -3.79 0.25
AnthonyJohnson 35 ORL 75 G -2.08 -2.33 0.24
ErickDampier 34 DAL 83 C 0.83 0.60 0.24
DrewGooden 28 3TM 82 F -2.27 -2.49 0.22
AaronBrooks 25 HOU 72 G -1.55 -1.77 0.22
NickYoung 24 WAS 78 G -5.20 -5.41 0.21
SebastianTelfair 24 MIN 72 G -3.02 -3.22 0.20
BenoUdrih 27 SAC 75 G -2.78 -2.97 0.20
RichardJefferson 29 MIL 79 F 0.09 -0.10 0.19
RodneyStuckey 23 DET 77 G -0.41 -0.59 0.18
KyleKorver 28 UTA 79 F -0.41 -0.59 0.18
MikeMiller 29 MIN 80 F 0.93 0.79 0.15
BradMiller 33 2TM 83 C 1.98 1.84 0.14
AndresNocioni 30 2TM 79 F -0.83 -0.95 0.12
CraigSmith 26 MIN 79 F -1.53 -1.65 0.12
CarmeloAnthony 25 DEN 80 F 2.17 2.06 0.11
JoshBoone 25 NJN 82 F -2.12 -2.22 0.10
JasonTerry 32 DAL 74 G 1.92 1.82 0.10
JoseCalderon 28 TOR 75 G 2.55 2.46 0.10
MikkiMoore 34 2TM 83 C -2.11 -2.20 0.09
BenGordon 26 CHI 75 G 0.06 -0.03 0.08
TimDuncan 33 SAS 83 F 5.93 5.85 0.08
GrantHill 37 PHO 80 F 0.24 0.16 0.08
TyronnLue 32 2TM 72 G -3.29 -3.34 0.05
KeithBogans 29 2TM 77 G -0.24 -0.28 0.05
SheldenWilliams 26 2TM 81 F -3.16 -3.18 0.02
MarquisDaniels 29 IND 78 G -3.02 -3.04 0.02
KirkHinrich 29 CHI 75 G 1.10 1.09 0.01
JamarioMoon 29 2TM 80 F 1.11 1.15 -0.04
MichaelFinley 36 SAS 79 G -2.03 -1.99 -0.04
TayshaunPrince 29 DET 81 F -0.35 -0.29 -0.06
KyleLowry 23 2TM 72 G 0.94 0.99 -0.06
KendrickPerkins 25 BOS 82 C -0.76 -0.69 -0.06
AlHarrington 29 2TM 81 F 0.18 0.24 -0.06
DanielGibson 23 CLE 74 G -1.25 -1.17 -0.08
AlThornton 26 LAC 80 F -3.67 -3.58 -0.08
AndreIguodala 26 PHI 78 G 4.28 4.37 -0.08
RonArtest 30 HOU 78 F 3.35 3.44 -0.09
QuentinRichardson 29 NYK 78 G -1.57 -1.48 -0.10
RayAllen 34 BOS 77 G 2.34 2.45 -0.11
FranciscoGarcia 28 SAC 79 F 0.09 0.20 -0.12
JasonMaxiell 26 DET 79 F -1.09 -0.98 -0.12
BrandonBass 24 DAL 80 F -3.24 -3.12 -0.12
MauriceEvans 31 ATL 77 G -1.86 -1.72 -0.14
RonnieBrewer 24 UTA 79 G 1.02 1.16 -0.14
YaoMing 29 HOU 90 C 2.50 2.64 -0.14
AndrewBogut 25 MIL 84 C 0.37 0.51 -0.14
QuintonRoss 28 MEM 78 G -3.65 -3.50 -0.15
RichardHamilton 31 DET 78 G 0.30 0.46 -0.15
JarrettJack 26 IND 75 G -1.39 -1.23 -0.16
TrentonHassell 30 NJN 77 G -4.84 -4.67 -0.17
MehmetOkur 30 UTA 83 F 1.70 1.90 -0.20
RashoNesterovic 33 IND 84 C -1.76 -1.55 -0.21
VinceCarter 33 NJN 79 G 3.64 3.86 -0.21
LukeWalton 29 LAL 80 F -1.76 -1.55 -0.22
HedoTurkoglu 30 ORL 82 F 2.44 2.66 -0.22
ThaddeusYoung 21 PHI 80 F -1.16 -0.94 -0.22
ChrisBosh 25 TOR 82 F 3.66 3.89 -0.23
KevinMartin 26 SAC 79 G 1.98 2.22 -0.24
ManuGinobili 32 SAS 78 G 8.05 8.30 -0.25
MichaelRedd 30 MIL 78 G 1.01 1.28 -0.27
ZydrunasIlgauskas 34 CLE 87 C -0.34 -0.05 -0.28
YakhoubaDiawara 27 MIA 79 F -4.23 -3.93 -0.30
MattHarpring 33 UTA 79 F -2.16 -1.86 -0.30
ReggieEvans 29 PHI 80 F -1.08 -0.76 -0.32
UdonisHaslem 29 MIA 80 F -2.93 -2.59 -0.34
AnthonyParker 34 TOR 78 G 0.24 0.58 -0.34
ArronAfflalo 24 DET 77 G -2.87 -2.50 -0.37
LuolDeng 24 CHI 80 F -0.90 -0.52 -0.38
AndrayBlatche 23 WAS 83 F -1.37 -0.99 -0.38
LinasKleiza 25 DEN 80 F -2.16 -1.77 -0.38
DesmondMason 32 OKC 79 F -4.67 -4.28 -0.40
JasonKapono 28 TOR 80 F -4.57 -4.14 -0.43
DavidWest 29 NOH 81 F 0.44 0.87 -0.43
DeShawnStevenson 28 WAS 77 G -2.38 -1.94 -0.44
JeffFoster 33 IND 83 F 0.94 1.39 -0.45
T.J.Ford 26 IND 72 G -0.19 0.28 -0.48
DeveanGeorge 32 DAL 80 G -3.17 -2.69 -0.48
BrianSkinner 33 LAC 81 F -3.74 -3.25 -0.49
DevinBrown 31 NOH 77 G -2.21 -1.69 -0.52
C.J.Miles 22 UTA 78 G -1.68 -1.15 -0.53
RyanGomes 27 MIN 79 F -1.91 -1.35 -0.56
ChrisQuinn 26 MIA 74 G -1.37 -0.80 -0.56
MontaEllis 24 GSW 75 G -1.46 -0.83 -0.63
RajaBell 33 2TM 77 G -0.96 -0.32 -0.64
FabricioOberto 34 SAS 82 F -0.33 0.31 -0.65
BruceBowen 38 SAS 79 F -2.17 -1.49 -0.67
RasheedWallace 35 DET 82 F 3.33 4.01 -0.68
KobeBryant 31 LAL 78 G 6.44 7.14 -0.70
ImeUdoka 32 SAS 78 F -0.77 -0.07 -0.70
JamalCrawford 29 2TM 78 G -0.93 -0.23 -0.70
JoshPowell 27 LAL 81 F -5.68 -4.98 -0.70
CaronButler 29 WAS 79 F 2.40 3.11 -0.71
TimThomas 32 3TM 82 F -0.69 0.03 -0.72
AndreiKirilenko 28 UTA 81 F 2.63 3.35 -0.72
ChrisDuhon 27 NYK 73 G -1.39 -0.67 -0.72
PejaStojakovic 32 NOH 81 F -0.28 0.44 -0.72
DamienWilkins 30 OKC 78 F -2.60 -1.87 -0.73
RudyGay 23 MEM 81 F -0.76 -0.02 -0.74
ChanningFrye 26 POR 83 F -3.08 -2.32 -0.76
CharlieBell 30 MIL 75 G -2.11 -1.35 -0.76
MarcusCamby 35 LAC 83 F 2.90 3.67 -0.77
BrevinKnight 34 UTA 70 G -1.02 -0.24 -0.78
AnthonyCarter 34 DEN 73 G -1.18 -0.39 -0.79
ChuckHayes 26 HOU 78 F 0.38 1.17 -0.79
MorrisPeterson 32 NOH 79 F -1.52 -0.70 -0.82
JoshHoward 29 DAL 79 F 0.91 1.75 -0.85
JarvisHayes 28 NJN 79 F -2.61 -1.76 -0.86
BenWallace 35 CLE 81 F 1.15 2.01 -0.86
JoshSmith 24 ATL 81 F 2.35 3.22 -0.87
AntonioDaniels 34 2TM 76 G -1.96 -1.07 -0.89
ChrisKaman 27 LAC 84 C -2.10 -1.19 -0.91
VladimirRadmanovic 29 2TM 82 F -1.57 -0.66 -0.92
GregBuckner 33 MEM 76 G -2.61 -1.66 -0.95
MattCarroll 29 2TM 78 G -3.21 -2.26 -0.95
JordanFarmar 23 LAL 74 G -2.10 -1.14 -0.96
DeSaganaDiop 28 2TM 84 C -1.21 -0.25 -0.97
JuanDixon 31 WAS 75 G -3.94 -2.96 -0.98
CarlLandry 26 HOU 81 F -0.41 0.58 -1.00
ChrisWilcox 27 2TM 82 F -1.94 -0.91 -1.03
JermaineO'Neal 31 2TM 83 F -1.54 -0.50 -1.04
SamuelDalembert 28 PHI 83 C -2.26 -1.22 -1.04
TracyMcGrady 30 HOU 80 F 3.11 4.16 -1.05
RickyDavis 30 LAC 78 G -2.33 -1.27 -1.07
JamesJones 29 MIA 80 F -1.71 -0.63 -1.09
BobbyJackson 36 SAC 73 G -0.83 0.27 -1.10
SteveNash 35 PHO 75 G 1.09 2.20 -1.11
RonniePrice 26 UTA 74 G -2.41 -1.24 -1.16
AllenIverson 34 2TM 72 G 0.73 1.90 -1.16
JasonRichardson 29 2TM 78 G 1.70 2.90 -1.20
CarlosBoozer 28 UTA 81 F 2.04 3.26 -1.22
CoreyMaggette 30 GSW 78 F 1.08 2.31 -1.23
PaulPierce 32 BOS 78 F 3.66 4.91 -1.25
MarkoJaric 31 MEM 79 G -1.44 -0.17 -1.27
JamesPosey 33 NOH 80 F 1.11 2.40 -1.29
AmirJohnson 22 DET 81 F 0.84 2.27 -1.43
JulianWright 22 NOH 80 F -2.51 -1.01 -1.49
MikeJames 34 2TM 74 G -3.73 -2.21 -1.52
TysonChandler 27 NOH 85 C -0.70 0.97 -1.67
EarlWatson 30 OKC 73 G -2.27 -0.53 -1.74
AmareStoudemire 27 PHO 82 F 2.54 4.36 -1.83
BaronDavis 30 LAC 75 G 2.70 4.55 -1.85
KevinGarnett 33 BOS 83 F 4.87 6.73 -1.86
ChaunceyBillups 33 2TM 75 G 4.29 6.40 -2.11
DirkNowitzki 31 DAL 84 F 4.42 6.57 -2.15
BrentBarry 38 HOU 78 G 0.02 2.49 -2.47
ShawnMarion 31 2TM 79 F 1.51 4.60 -3.10

There's D-Wade again, who bounced back magnificently from an uncharacteristic '08. But while he technically saw the biggest improvement since last year, the trouble is that we already knew he was good -- he just struggled with injuries and a really tough team situation in '08. If we just limit ourselves to players who were below average in 2008 and above-average in 2009, two names emerge: Charlie Villanueva and Kevin Durant.

Durant finished third in the actual voting, but Villaneuva did not garner a single vote despite upping his scoring by nearly 5 PPG and registering 3.2 more Win Shares in '09. Personally, I would have given Durant the award, but it's a shame that Charlie V. didn't get more consideration as well.

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7 Responses to “SPM’s Most Improved Players”

  1. Guy F Says:

    This is slightly off topic, but would it help your formula at all to use a variable like (%of games started) in your regression? That way you could take account of who a player tends to play against, whether it's the other teams first or second unit, and then reward or penalize their SPM score appropriately.

    Also a stat like (%of win shares) might be helpful in taking account of who you're playing with.

  2. Jason J Says:

    I'm always a little unsure how to look at this award - is it for players who added skills or already skilled players who got more meaningful minutes for one reason or another?

    With Charlie V. do you think his increased SPM is a result of him getting better or him getting more opportunities in the wake of team-wide injuries? Bogut and Redd missed significant time, and he picked up the slack very well, but he had some nice runs as far back as Toronto.

    Durant we could see actually improved his game. His decision-making, confidence, and aggressiveness going to the basket were miles ahead of his rookie year. He would have been my pick too, though his big leap did coincide with him moving from guard to foward...

    Rondo deserves some mention I think - not only did his numbers bump up, but his overall responsibilities increased, and he became the premier defensive point guard in the league - the All-D Team popularity contest that put Chris Paul ahead of him and Delonte, Dahntay, and Courtney Lee notwithstanding.

  3. Neil Paine Says:

    Villanueva actually had never been a positive player by SPM until this season; his career scores are -0.95 in '06, -1.89 in '07, -2.85 in '08, & 2.41 in '09. I think this year it's been about a big leap in scoring, assists, free throw attempts, and blocks (per minute) all in the same season, coupled with Milwaukee going from the absolute worst defense in the league to the 15th-best.

    Rondo's statistical development has been amazing, especially considering that his jumper is still shaky. Everybody's saying it, but it's true -- if (when?) he adds that aspect to his game, he creeps up on Deron Williams and Tony Parker as maybe the 2nd-best overall PG in the league behind Chris Paul.

  4. Dave Says:

    My question is about Durant for all you people who would give this award to him: how much better do we expect the ROY to get?

  5. Neil Paine Says:

    I guess that sort of depends on whether you thought Durant actually deserved the ROY last year... But what do we mean by "improved" anyway? Here we're talking improved stats, but seeing how the coaching/position change instantly made Durant's numbers so much better, it's possible he could have posted these numbers last year as well, had he been properly coached. Which in turn raises the question: how much did he really improve, and how much did his situation improve?

  6. Jason J Says:

    My point exactly (tho it contradicts my "pick" of Durant), and it's true of almost all the guys who were ever in the running this year.

    Before the injury, Devon Harris was out in front, but had he really improved dramatically or is this what happens when he gets the chance to be the #1 option on a team for the last couple of years?

    Granger has said himself that he moved his focus from defense to offense (said he patterned himself off Artest in the past). Does his becoming the focal point of the offense and taking it a bit easy on defense account for his improved play?

    Would anybody have noticed Rondo's increased confidence and aggressiveness if the Celtics had been a healthy team this year and Garnett had given his usual dominant performance night in and night out?

    Situation is critical and something I don't think we can untangle from performance. Maybe more than other categories this vote needs to have a lot of context factored in and less emphasis on empiric evidence. Or maybe not.

  7. Kevin Says:

    I agree with the oft-cited criticism of too many players winning this award because of increased minutes. But I also don't get why so many young players win the award. Players are supposed to make significant jumps between the ages of 20 to 25.

    That's what Granger did. Durant and Devin Harris, too. Those were the top three vote-getters.

    Turkoglu was a great choice last season. At 28, he had his best season and not because he hadn't reached his potential beforehand. It was because Stan Van Gundy put him in a new role, he accepted it and flourished in it.

    The worst non-selection I can think of was Jason Williams in 2002-03. Hubie Brown became coach of the Grizzlies. Together, they turned around Williams' career. He went from the guy who threw the ball out of bounds to one of the best decision makers in the game -- 8.3 assists and 2.2 turnovers.

    Gilbert Arenas won the award, going from 20 to 21 years old and going from playing 25 minutes a game to 35.