Julius Randle, not Jerami Grant, was named Most Improved Player, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Randle set career highs in scoring, rebounding, assists, and perimeter shooting and led the New York Knicks to the fourth seed and the NBA playoffs. Key to Randle’s and his team’s success was his growth beyond just an unrepentant shooter into someone who could facilitate, find quality looks for his teammates and serve as a true hub of the offense.
His assist percentage nearly doubled from his previous three seasons from just over 15% to over 27% in this season. He also earned his first All-Star berth.
His on-court production as well as well as the narrative surrounding leading the vaunted New York Knicks to the playoffs was too much for Grant to overcome.
Grant, meanwhile, went from complementary player to featured option as the first high-profile addition of the Troy Weaver era with the Detroit Pistons.
Grant nearly doubled his previous career-high as a scorer from 13.6 and 12 points per game last season to 22.3 points per game this season.
While Grant exploded onto the scene in the first couple months of the season, his efficiency eventually fell back to earth and was further impacted as the Pistons shedded veterans from the roster and went all in on a youth movement.
Eventually nagging injuries and an emphasis on youth (and losing) led to Grant missing several games in the final quarter of the season.
Still, this was an affirmation of Grant’s bet on himself as he went from contender in Denver to first option in Detroit. He proved he could be a go-to scorer and quality player.
Grant’s emergence together with the development of Detroit’s roster of young players from Saddiq Bey and Isaiah Stewart to Sekou Doumbouya, Killian Hayes, Saben Lee and even Frank Jackson, leaves Detroit primed to take a big step next season … if the lottery gods will allow it.
Grant was a finalist for the award along with Randle and Michael Porter Jr. of the Denver Nuggets.