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sport / / NBCSBA: Why Kuminga wasn't eligible for NBA's Most Improved Player Award

o NBCSBA: Why Kuminga wasn't eligible for NBA's Most Improved Player AwardRobin Miller

NBCSBA: Why Kuminga wasn't eligible for NBA's Most Improved Player Award


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From: robin.mi...@invalid.invalid (Robin Miller)
Subject: NBCSBA: Why Kuminga wasn't eligible for NBA's Most Improved Player
Date: Wed, 24 Apr 2024 10:51:43 -0400
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 by: Robin Miller - Wed, 24 Apr 2024 14:51 UTC

Why Kuminga wasn't eligible for NBA's Most Improved Player Award

By Dalton Johnson

• Published April 23, 2024

Philadelphia 76ers star shooting guard Tyrese Maxey on Tuesday was named
the NBA’s 2023-24 Most Improved Player, edging Chicago Bulls guard Coby
White by 14 total points.

The award was expected to come down to Maxey and White, with a handful
of others behind them. But there seemed to be a name missing when the
official votes were released: What about Warriors forward Jonathan Kuminga?

Well, the 21-year-old who took a major leap forward in Year 3 actually
wasn’t eligible for voters to consider. It has been well known since
last offseason that candidates for the league’s major awards have to
appear in at least 65 games for eligibility, in hopes of big names not
missing games solely for rest. Kuminga played 74 regular-season games.

However, a special caveat kept him off the ballot.

For a game to count towards those 65 games, a player must receive 20
minutes or more of action. Kuminga checked that box 61 times, four shy
of MIP consideration. He fell 40 seconds short of 20 minutes once, and
27 seconds short another time. Kuminga played eight games where he was
within two minutes of the 20-minute mark.

If voters were able to include Kuminga, he undoubtedly would have been
near the top of their list. Maxey made his first All-Star Game this
season, but he also finished sixth in voting two seasons ago and
averaged 20.3 points per game last season.

Kuminga met what the original intentions of the award were all about.
His minutes per game went from 20.8 the previous season to 26.3. He
started only 16 games the previous season before starting 46 this
season. Kuminga was the Warriors’ second-leading scorer, raising his
average 6.2 points, from 9.9 points to 16.1 points per game.

As Klay Thompson transitions into the next phase of his career, Kuminga
showcased his ability to be a go-to scorer and secondary option for the
Warriors – behind only Steph Curry. Kuminga set a streak of double-digit
points in 34 consecutive games, and also had a streak of eight straight
games scoring 20 or more points within that span.

“JK had a really good year, a breakthrough year, for sure,” Steve Kerr
said to reporters Thursday as part of his end-of-the-season press
conference. “I think he got more and more confident with his play.”

Warriors general manager Mike Dunleavy Jr. echoed that assessment later
the same day.

“I think really good growth out of JK,” Dunleavy said. “Frankly put a
ton of time in this past offseason, came in, had a great preseason and
got off to a little bit of slow start, but found his way and had a
stretch there in the middle of the season where not only was he one of
the best players on our team, but in the league. And that's where we see
the potential with him.”

Along with minutes played, games started and points per game, Kuminga
also set single-season career highs in rebounding (4.8 per game),
field-goal percentage (52.9 percent), free-throw percentage (74.6
percent), total steals (55), total blocks (36) and a handful more.

Though it would have been interesting to see where Kuminga would have
landed in Most Improved Player voting, he and the Warriors have even
bigger goals for their former top draft pick who is extension eligible
this offseason.

sport / / NBCSBA: Why Kuminga wasn't eligible for NBA's Most Improved Player Award


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