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Giannis Antetokounmpo and Bradley Beal.

Five top contenders for Most Improved Player

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With a new wave of transformative talent, it's almost like there aren't enough postseason awards to go around.

Just look at the three All-NBA teams: There's a world where superstars like Paul George of the Indiana Pacers and Jimmy Butler of the Chicago Bulls are left off these lists despite outstanding seasons in being the unquestioned leaders of playoff teams.

That's one of the reasons why you are seeing more star power with awards listings that are traditionally of a lesser profile.

Guys who would be too good for a slight award like the Most Improved Player in the past will be recognized as a nod to what they'veaccomplished.

With that in mind, here's a list of five guys who should be considered for the award:

Utah Jazz v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Seven

5. RUDY GOBERT, UTAH

This isn't a charity pick for Gobert, who should be in the mix for Defensive Player of the Year and also warrants consideration as the All-NBA first team center.

But the Stifle Tower has earned his nickname, especially this season.

Gobert's 2.6 blocks per game is a career best, but his offense is really where the most improvement came for the Frenchman. Gobert averaged 14.0 points per game this season for the Utah Jazz, the first season in his four-year career where he was scoring double figures.

Golden State Warriors v Denver Nuggets

4. NIKOLA JOKIC, DENVER

The Joker was a nice player for the Nuggets in his rookie season last year, scoring 10.0 points per game, grabbing 7.0 rebounds and dishing 2.4 assists.

But the Serbian took it to new heights after the organization made a big bet on him for his second season.

Denver traded Jusuf Nurkic to Portland to free up minutes and touches for the crafty big man.

Jokic responded, proving he could be a cornerstone for a good franchise with a season that included 16.7 points, 9.8 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game.

Washington Wizards v Boston Celtics - Game Two

3. ISAIAH THOMAS, BOSTON

Thomas is an anomaly in the NBA as a scoring franchise point guard who stands at just 5-foot-9.

Since coming to Boston from Phoenix in a 2015 three-team trade deadline deal, Thomas has taken his game to new heights.

Last year, in his first full season with the Celtics, Thomas scored a career high 22.2 points per game.

This year, at the helm of Brad Stevens' offense, Thomas scored 28.9 points per game, third in the NBA. He also made many big fourth quarter shots throughout the season for the Eastern Conference's top seed.

Although this is a regular season award, it's also worth noting that Thomas is still getting 28.0 points per game this playoffs despite dealing with the death of his little sister, Chyna.

Washington Wizards v Boston Celtics - Game One

2. BRADLEY BEAL, WASHINGTON

Beal's career in Washington was growing more frustrating by the season.

The third pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, Beal had to deal with injuries and his own inconsistency as the Wizards continued to disappoint each season.

As point guard John Wall started to take his game to the next level, it looked like his backcourt mate might never quite get there.

This season, however, Beal has lived up to the hype.

The St. Louis native got a career-high 23.1 points for the dangerous Wizards, posting career high numbers in assists and shooting percentages for free throws and field goals.

Milwaukee Bucks v Cleveland Cavaliers

1. GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO, MILWAUKEE

The "Greek Freak" had been a revelation through the first three years of his career.

This year, the Milwaukee Bucks star was downright scary.

Giannis did it all for Milwaukee, scoring 22.9 points, grabbing 8.8 rebounds and getting 5.4 assists - all career highs.

Antetokounmpo also came through in the playoffs, despite a six-game series loss, scoring 24.8 points per game in the series against the Toronto Raptors.

The scariest thing is the improvement may not be done with Giannis, who could be in the mix for more awards in the future, including MVP.

Topics:
Milwaukee Bucks
Central Division
Eastern Conference
NBA
Boston Celtics
Atlantic Division
Giannis Antetokounmpo
Isaiah Thomas

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