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SI’s Mannix Lists Blazers’ Trent Jr. as Most Improved Player Candidate

Trail Blazers guard Gary Trent Jr. earned a place in SI’s preseason awards predictions.

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at Portland Trail Blazers Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

In Sports Illustrated’s annual picks for who will win which award for the 2020-21 NBA season, The Crossover’s Chris Mannix picked Portland Trail Blazers wing Gary Trent Jr. for Most Improved Player honors.

Mannix cited Trent’s emergence in the bubble as a potential indicator of the kind of leap he can make in the upcoming 2020-21 season.

Trent’s bubble numbers (16.9 points per game) nearly doubled his average in the regular season, foreshadowing, perhaps, a breakout season. While Trent will have competition for minutes at the swing positions on a replenished Blazers roster, it says here Terry Stotts will find room the sharpshooting Trent who emerged as a bulldog defender.

Trent made a significant leap from his rookie to sophomore season. In 61 games, the 21-year-old Duke product averaged 8.9 points per game on 41.8 percent shooting from outside. In four preseason games, Trent averaged 14.8 points and one steal per game on 43.5 percent shooting from deep.

You can check out SI’s complete list of award predictions by clicking here.