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NBA Award Predictions: McCollum Most Improved, Stotts Coaching Runner-Up

ESPN and NBA.com agree that McCollum should be 2015-16 Most Improved Player, rank Stotts highly among Coach of the Year candidates.

Peter Llewellyn-USA TODAY Sports

As the deluge of awards for this season's campaign come rolling in, the Portland Trail Blazers continue to rack up the accolades.

Marc Stein of ESPN.com gave the Most Improved Player award to C.J. McCollum, edging out Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors on his ballot. Stein cites McCollum jumping from 6.8 points per game to 20.6 this season as the biggest factor, along with increased assists and free-throw percentage.

Less attention has been paid to the fact that he has also progressed as a distributor (1.0 APG last season to 4.2 this season) while also hiking his free-throw percentage from an eyesore (.699) to a strength (.825).

NBA.com joined in, naming McCollum as well, with writer Lang Whitaker citing McCollum's improved shooting while on the floor.

Sure, McCollum is logging 34.8 minutes per game, more than double the 15.7 he averaged a season ago. But he's playing a bigger role in the offense while he's on the court. McCollum has averaged 18.5 field goal attempts per 36 minutes, up from 13.5 last season, while making 42.1 percent of his 3-pointers (after shooting 39.6 percent in 2014-15).

Stein also awarded Coach of the Year, giving it to Steve Kerr of the Warriors. Blazers coach Terry Stotts finished in second, despite taking a team that the  majority of analysts had missing the playoffs to the fifth seed in the Western Conference as of writing. A case can be made that Stotts has done more with less in Portland than Kerr did with a team widely expected to return to the NBA Finals from day one. The Warriors have certainly had a spectacular season. How much of that was coaching is not as certain, especially with Kerr missing half of the season due to medical issues, with assistant coach Luke Walton going 39-4 in his absence.