With the first full month of the NBA season in the books, the Sixers' Jrue Holiday looks like the frontrunner for this year' Most Improved Player award, writes Justin Kubatko for the New York Times. After receiving a four-year, $41MM extension from the club on Halloween, the 6'3" guard has been earning his pay bump with 18.2 PPG and 9.3 RPG per game, a significant bump from last season's numbers (13.5 PPG, 4.5 APG). Here's more out of the Atlantic..
- The Nets took a chance on Andray Blatche this offseason when they gave him a one-year deal, and there's no doubt that the gamble is paying off, writes Tim Bontemps of the New York Post. Blatche is averaging 10.6 PPG and 6.1 RPG while shooting nearly 47 percent from the field this season. Those numbers have improved since Blatche stepped into the starting lineup in place of Brook Lopez three games ago with 17.7 PPG, 9.3 RPG, and over 51 percent shooting.
- Former Celtics big man Greg Stiemsma told Jessica Camerato of CSNNE.com that he left Boston because he felt that he had a better opportunity with the Timberwolves. It also helped that Stiemsma got a $3MM committment for 2012/13 with the possibility of a second year at $2.575MM.
- The Sixers have had to play without summer acquisitions Andrew Bynum, Jason Richardson, and Nick Young, but head coach Doug Collins isn't making excuses, writes Bob Cooney of the Daily News.