The Portland Trail Blazers are off to a 10-8 start to the 2022-23 regular season. In a micro view, they’re not happy at losing four straight games in their last four tries. In the macro view, however? It’s not bad. In a rough 20-game stretch to start the season, emerging .500 or above will be plenty acceptable. Portland is already assured of doing that, which means we can set aside the analysis and critiques on this American Thanksgiving holiday, 2022 and instead engage in a little appreciation...or mostly so.
The Blazers aren’t quite one quarter of the way through the season, but the difference between 18 completed games and 20.25 isn’t enough to change the overall trends or our assessment of this year’s Blazers crew so far. Waiting until the first quarter of next Tuesday’s game versus the Los Angeles Clippers won’t change our vision enough to matter when it comes to today’s project, the Quarter-Season Awards. Throughout this holiday, we’ll be posting various categories for you to comment on. For each, simply pick the player you feel fits the description best and explain why. You have free rein to define terms as you wish, name second-place award winners and honorable mentions, whatever you wish. It’s supposed to be a fun way to pass the holiday. You can help make it so.
This post is to name Portland’s Most Improved Player so far this season. Granted, 18 games provides a short measuring stick, but you still know players who are more of a factor than you thought they’d be based on history, role, or preseason assessment of talent. Maybe they came from another team and have made a huge impact. Maybe their stats have jumped. Or maybe they looked out of place last year and all of a sudden they’ve become a key contributor. Any or all of those could qualify as Most Improved!
Note that this is one of the categories that’s independent of talent and role. If you think a player getting four minutes, max, has made the biggest strides, by all means name him!
Have fun in the comments and watch for further award categories coming throughout the day!