Lowry spent the first four seasons of his NBA career as a respectable complementary player. He was a solid backup who showed up to work every day, appearing in all 82 games in his second professional season with Memphis is 2007-08.
An injury to Aaron Brooks last season gave Lowry his chance at starting for an extended period of time, and the former Villanova Wildcat seized the opportunity. He broke into double digits in scoring average for the first time, and has upped his production this season to career highs of 15.8 points, 7.3 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game.
Lowry might be the favorite for the NBA Most Improved Player Award, if not for another point guard named Jeremy Lin.
Compared to Lin, Lowry was fortunate. Lowry was relegated to the bench, while Lin was cut twice and was days from being cut again before the Knicks decided to give him one last, long look against the Nets. Lin scored 25 points and hasn’t looked back, re-energizing the Knicks and gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated for two straight weeks.
Before Linsanity took over and Lowry began to open people’s eyes, Magic forward Ryan Anderson shocked the basketball establishment with his long-distance shooting. The 6-foot-10 power forward leads the NBA with 2.9 3-pointers made per game, making teams pay for on the double-teams sent Dwight Howard‘s way.
The polar opposite of Anderson is Pistons center Greg Monroe. Monroe doesn’t have a single teammate who demands a double-team and has attempted exactly one 3-point shot in his career. The second-year center is effective in his own way, however, averaging a double-double with 16.7 points and 10.1 rebounds per game.
Lin might run away with the award, but none of the five players would be an unworthy choice. Which player deserves the honor, or is there another name we’re forgetting?