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Jazz's Lauri Markkanen wins NBA's Most Improved Player award

Jazz's Lauri Markkanen wins NBA's Most Improved Player award

Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen is the winner of the NBA's Most Improved Player award and the recipient of the George Mikan Trophy. 

Markkanen received 69 first-place votes and 430 total voting points, while runner-up Shai Gilgeous-Alexander received 24 first-place votes and 289 total voting points. Jalen Brunson (91 total voting points), Mikal Bridges (33 total voting points) and Nic Claxton (22 total voting points) rounded out the top-5.

The following players also received at least one vote: Tyrese Haliburton, Trey Murphy III, Kevon Looney, De'Aaron Fox, Austin Reaves, Jaren Jackson Jr., Aaron Gordon and Malik Monk.

This season, Markkanen averaged 25.6 points, 8.6 rebounds, 3.0 threes and 1.9 assists while shooting 49.9% from the field, 39.1% from three-point range and 87.5% from the free-throw line. It was easily the best season of his NBA career, and the 25-year-old became a first-time All-Star.

Markkanen raised his scoring average by 10.87 points from last season, which was the biggest jump in the NBA. He set career-highs in points per game, field goal percentage and three-pointers made. Also, Markkanen posted 16 games with 30+ points this year after having just 15 such games in his first five NBA seasons.

The annual award, which was first presented in the 1985-86 season, is designed to honor an up-and-coming player who has made a dramatic improvement from the previous season or seasons.

The balloting was tabulated by the independent accounting firm Ernst & Young LLP. Complete ballots for each voter will be released by the NBA after the announcement of all end-of-season awards.

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