CHICAGO — Jimmy Butler of the Chicago Bulls has been named the NBA's Most Improved Player after making his first All-Star team and averaging a career high in scoring.
The 25-year-old Butler received 92 of 129 first-place votes and 535 total points from a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters. Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors (11 first-place votes, 200 points) was second and Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz (12 first-place votes, 189 points) finished third.
In his fourth season, Butler went from averaging 13.1 to 20 points. His shooting improved from 39.7 to 46.2 percent, his rebounding jumped from 4.9 to 5.8 and his assists increased from 2.6 to 3.3 per game.
Butler is also in line for a huge payday as a restricted free agent.
Gobert, a second-year center with the Jazz, saw his minutes increase in the back half of the 2014-15 season, especially following the trade of Enes Kanter. He averaged 26.3 minutes, 8.4 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game this season.
In his rookie season in 2013-14, Gobert averaged 9.6 minutes, 2.3 points, 3.4 rebounds and 0.9 blocks per game.
Gobert had 14 double-doubles in the 29 games after the Kanter trade on Feb. 20. From then until the end of the season, he played 30 minutes or more in all but two games: the first game after Kanter was traded and the season finale.
During that late-season stretch, Gobert averaged 11.1 points, 13.4 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game.
Utah's Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors also received a third-place vote each, as did Kanter.