Pacific Notes: Green, Poole, Kings, Ranadive, Bridges

Warriors star Draymond Green wants to see Jordan Poole win the NBA’s Most Improved Player award this season, Kendra Andrews of writes. Poole has raised his numbers from last season, averaging 18.4 points (up from 12.0) and 4.0 assists (up from 1.9) per contest.

“The award is called the most improved. Not who had the best year. That’s the MVP,” Green said. “A lot of times we get it confused. No disrespect to Ja Morant, but Ja is an MVP candidate. Ja Morant isn’t the Most Improved Player. He was f—ing incredible last year. When you look around, the most improvement has been Jordan Poole and that goes without saying. He is the most improved.”

While Morant was already a borderline All-Star last season, he has raised his averages in 2021/22 as well: 27.4 points, 5.7 rebounds and 6.7 assists per game on 49% shooting, up from 19.1 PPG, 4.0 RPG and 7.4 APG on 45% shooting. He’s currently considered the betting favorite for the award.

Here are some other notes from the Pacific Division:

  • Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee explores how Kings owner Vivek Ranadive has played a role in the franchise’s struggles. Anderson also cites a former team basketball operations employee who called the environment “toxic,” adding that “people don’t trust each other” and “are thirsty to get any advantage or any promotion they can.” Ranadive has been with the Kings since March of 2013. “People are not treated well,” the former employee continued. “They’re not valued. It’s a toxic workplace where there are some super-talented people who either move on or get let go for different reasons. It’s unfortunate because I think people come with really pure intentions and want to turn it around.”
  • Anthony Slater of The Athletic examines what’s next for the Kings after missing the postseason for an NBA-record 16th straight time. Sacramento finished with the fourth-worst record in the Western Conference this season (29-52), trading away former No. 12 pick Tyrese Haliburton for Domantas Sabonis in February.
  • Suns wing Mikal Bridges recently made his case for why he should be Defensive Player of the Year in an interview with Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, explaining why he believes big men win the award too often. “I would never discredit anybody, and obviously bigs have been winning that award for a while and they do a hell of a job, but the amount of times a big has won over a guard is just crazy,” Bridges said as part of a larger quote. “I think people take it for granted how tough it is to guard the top perimeter players in this league and not be able to really touch them because they’re going to get the foul call.”
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