Bulls' Butler wins NBA's most improved, Zeller gets vote


BOSTON – Chicago Bulls star Jimmy Butler was a runaway winner for the NBA's Most Improved Award this season, receiving 92 first-place votes (out of a possible 130) for a total score of 535 points.

Golden State’s Draymond Green (the Susan Lucci of the this NBA season) who was runner-up for the league’s Defensive Player of the Year award, was second with 11 first-place votes and a total of 200 points.

Rounding out the top three was Utah’s Rudy Gobert who received 12 first-place votes and a total of 189 points.

Although he finished a distant 10th for the award, Boston’s Tyler Zeller was also among those recognized for the progress they made this past season.

Zeller, who set several career-high benchmarks this season with the Celtics, had a total of five voting points and was tied for 10th with Atlanta’s DeMarre Carroll.

His five points came on a first-place vote he received from Comcast SportsNet Celtics analyst and Hall of Famer, Tommy Heinsohn.

In his first season with Boston, Zeller averaged 10.2 points and 5.7 rebounds per game along with 1.4 assists – all career highs. He also appeared in all 82 games, a first for him in his three NBA seasons, along with shooting 54.9 percent from the field and 82.3 percent from the free throw line, which were also personal bests for the 7-foot center.

Here’s a look at the top-10 finishers for the Most Improved Player of the Year award.

Jimmy Butler (Chicago): 92 first-place votes, 23 second, 535 total points
Draymond Green (Golden State): 11 1st, 43 2nd, 16 3rd, 200 pts
Rudy Gobert (Utah): 12 1st, 32 2nd, 33 3rd, 180 pts
Hassan Whiteside (Miami): 5 1st, 12 2nd, 27 3rd, 88 pts
Klay Thompson (Golden State): 2 1st, 8 2nd, 8 3rd, 42 pts
Anthony Davis (New Orleans): 4 1st, 2 2nd, 1 3rd, 27 pts
Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee): 1 1st, 3 2nd, 8 3rd, 22 pts
Donatas Motiejunas (Houston): 1 2nd, 4 3rd, 7 pts
Dennis Schröder (Atlanta): 1 2nd, 6 3rd, 6 pts
DeMarre Carroll (Atlanta): 1 1st, 5 pts
Tyler Zeller (Boston): 1 1st, 5 pts

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