Blazers G CJ McCollum wins 2015-16 NBA Most Improved Player Award

(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum was named the NBA’s Most Improved Player award winner for the 2015-16 season Friday morning. McCollum received 101 of the possible 130 1st place votes, winning in a landslide. Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker came in second in the voting while Milwaukee forward/guard Giannis Antetokounmpo finished third in the voting.

McCollum becomes the third Blazer to win the Most Improved Player Award along with Kevin Duckworth (1987-88) and Zach Randolph (2003-04).  McCollum was a key figure in the Blazers making the playoffs, averaging over 20 points per game as the starting shooting guard and helping the team become the fifth seed in the Western Conference.

McCollum also doubled his assist percentage this season, taking on the role of the team’s back-up point guard while keeping his turnover percentage around the same despite upping his usage-rate to 27 up from 20.

“Being recognized as the Most Improved Player in the NBA is a testament to the dedication and commitment to his game CJ has shown since joining the Trail Blazers,” said president of basketball operations Neil Olshey in a press release.

McCollum, of course, made a huge jump in scoring, the biggest in the NBA this season and one of the biggest jumps of All-Time. McCollum’s 14-point jump in points per game was the biggest since Tony Campbell’s scoring average jumped 17 points in the 1989-90 season. McCollum and Damian Lillard also became the first Blazers backcourt ever to have two players average over 20 points per game.

McCollum dealt with injury and playing behind veterans in his first two seasons. But those tough times made it even sweeter.

“It just means a lot to struggle, I take pride in struggling,” McCollum said. “Being 5-2 180 pounds, all the girls being taller than you in high school. You have an appreciation for good things coming your way. Understanding you have to work to get success. You got to judge a man, don’t judge me after 37 vs New Orleans. Judge me after 3-of-11 in LA, judge how I respond to adversity. Everybody is good when things are sweet and going your way. I pride myself on being able to bounce back from things. Be able to not only prove people wrong and solidify what I already know and that’s sustaining a high level of excellence.”

“CJ worked extremely hard to have the season that he had this year,” said Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts in a press release. “His work ethic and commitment to improve is the reason he is deserving of this award. He is an example to everyone what can be accomplished with diligent practice and a belief that you can always get better.”

The winner of the Most Improved Player Award gets a new Kia Sorento. McCollum will donate the brand new car to the Boys & Girls Club of Portland Metro.

Complete voting results 


1st Place (5 Pts)     2nd Place (3 Pts)   3rd Place (1 Pt)            Total

CJ McCollum (Portland)             101                          14                           12                    559

Kemba Walker (Charlotte)             7                              37                           20                    166

Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee)4                         17                           28                    99

Stephen Curry (Golden State)        7                              13                           9                      83

Will Barton (Denver)                      1                              16                           9                      62

Jae Crowder (Boston)                     1                              8                             16                    45

Draymond Green (Golden State)   2                              10                           3                      43

Isaiah Thomas (Boston)                  3                              3                             6                      30

Hassan Whiteside (Miami)             1                              6                             3                      26

Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio)       1                              2                             7                      18

Andre Drummond (Detroit)           1                              1                             3                      11

Gary Harris (Denver)                      1                              —                            1                      6

Kent Bazemore (Atlanta)               —                              1                             1                      4

Evan Fournier (Orlando)                —                              —                            4                      4

Rodney Hood (Utah)                     —                              1                             —                      3

Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City)–                           1                             —                      3

Reggie Jackson (Detroit)                —                              —                            3                      3

Ian Mahinmi (Indiana)                    —                              —                            3                      3

Zach LaVine (Minnesota)              —                              —                            1                      1

Kyle Lowry (Toronto)                    —                              —                            1                      1





1985-86                       Alvin Robertson, San Antonio

1986-87                       Dale Ellis, Seattle

1987-88                       Kevin Duckworth, Portland

1988-89                       Kevin Johnson, Phoenix

1989-90                       Rony Seikaly, Miami

1990-91                       Scott Skiles, Orlando

1991-92                       Pervis Ellison, Washington

1992-93                       Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, Denver

1993-94                       Don MacLean, Washington

1994-95                       Dana Barros, Philadelphia

1995-96                       Gheorghe Muresan, Washington

1996-97                       Isaac Austin, Miami

1997-98                       Alan Henderson, Atlanta

1998-99                       Darrell Armstrong, Orlando
1999-00                       Jalen Rose, Indiana

2000-01                       Tracy McGrady, Orlando

2001-02                       Jermaine O’Neal, Indiana

2002-03                       Gilbert Arenas, Golden State

2003-04                       Zach Randolph, Portland

2004-05                       Bobby Simmons, L.A. Clippers

2005-06                       Boris Diaw, Phoenix

2006-07                       Monta Ellis, Golden State

2007-08                       Hedo Turkoglu, Orlando

2008-09                       Danny Granger, Indiana

2009-10                       Aaron Brooks, Houston

2010-11                       Kevin Love, Minnesota

2011-12                       Ryan Anderson, Orlando

2012-13                       Paul George, Indiana

2013-14                       Goran Dragic, Phoenix

2014-15                       Jimmy Butler, Chicago

2015-16                       CJ McCollum, Portland

Erik Gundersen

Erik Gundersen

Erik Gundersen is the Trail Blazers beat reporter for The Columbian. He's a graduate of the Allen School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon in addition earning a degree in Spanish. He's covered the NBA for four seasons. You can also occasionally find his work on's NBA section for their TrueCities series. He also fist-bumped with Kanye West once. Follow @BlazerBanter on twitter for more Blazers and NBA news.

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