Utah Jazz PnB Awards: Ladder Climber


The Utah Jazz Most Improved Player of 2014-15 Award goes to… – Illustration by Clint Peterson, trophy by Fry’s

These are the 2014-15 Utah Jazz PnB Awards. Our panel of utterly unbiased experts have put our sizable heads together in an attempt to recognize Utah Jazz players that made a difference in a season the real experts picked far too meagerly.

"Come gather ’round peopleWherever you roamAnd admit that the watersAround you have grownAnd accept it that soonYou’ll be drenched to the boneIf your time to youIs worth savin’Then you better start swimmin’Or you’ll sink like a stoneFor the times they are a-changin’.Come writers and criticsWho prophesize with your penAnd keep your eyes wideThe chance won’t come againAnd don’t speak too soonFor the wheel’s still in spinAnd there’s no tellin’ whoThat it’s namin’For the loser nowWill be later to winFor the times they are a-changin’.–Bob Dylan"

Like the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, his could be a unanimous decision. Who is your Most Improved Player on the Jazz for 2014-15?

Spencer Wixom: The only person you could argue besides Rudy Gobert, in my opinion, would be Quin Snyder.

The improvements to all the players that Quin brought is incredible. Obviously this is a stretch, so I agree it’s Gobert. Rudy is the one player you can argue who improved solely based off his own work, and not the new system. Last year Gobert looked terrible.

Rudy worked all off season on his game. He took the World Cup and summer league by storm.

Rudy Gobert was my pick for Most Improved in the NBA. No single player went from absolutely irrelevant to lead the league in defense. Gobert didn’t get the recognition that he deserves. However, I imagine next year with a full year of starting he could easily win this award, along with DPOY.

Blake Draper: Is this seriously even a question? Even though G-Time and Faves have continued to improve (which I love) I can’t give this to anyone other than Rudy Gobert.

Jared Barker: And everyone already knows what I’m going to say. I don’t think you can really make and argument for anyone besides the Stifle Tower.  This team was around 29th in defense with Enes Kanter. Jettison Kanter and insert Gobert, even with half a season of bad stats, and the Jazz end up what, 14th in the league?


Clint Peterson: Love the Snyder consideration, Wix. And I love what Rodney Hood did from the beginning of the season to the end — he basically played two college seasons in his rookie one.

As Blake mentioned, both Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors made strides forward. But no one did what Gobert did on the Utah Jazz. Indeed, few players have made such a leap from year one to year two in NBA history. It was such a remarkable step up that it’s hard to track at all.

Rudy Gobert is one of those generational gems that you dig and dig and dig for.

Ryan Aston: Rudy…Rudy…Rudy!!! RUDY!!!

When you go from an end-of-the-bench project to a franchise changer in less than a year, I can’t imagine a scenario in which you aren’t the most improved player for your team.

The numbers don’t lie. When players were guarded by Gobert within six feet of the basket, they shot 11.6-percent lower than normal this past season. Moreover, the Stifle Tower was tops in the NBA in block percentage (7.0) and fifth in the league in rebounding rate (nabbing 20.7-percent of available boards).

Derrick Favors is a solid second place; his defensive resurgence and continuing evolution into a go-to guy in the post were among the most encouraging developments for the Jazz this season.

Regardless of D-Faves’ improvement, there can be only one MIP. That is Rudy Gobert.


Let’s go to the scorecards.

The winner by unanimous decision, and new heavyweight champion of Jazzland…


(Who ironically doesn’t need a ladder)

Congratulations, Rudy Gobert, you’ve won a glow in the dark Colorful Super Stars Kit!

Rudy Gobert wins glow in the dark from The J Notes

The trophy used in the illustration has history:

"This brass and wood “ladder to the stars” award was given by Fry’s Chocolates (now Cadbury) as a sponsorship trophy presented to the artist whose hit was climbing fastest up the charts on Radio Luxembourg’s top 20 show in the mid 1960s. Radio Luxemberg, because the BBC had no rock ‘n roll radio program, was THE place for Brits to listen to their own music revolution. The Fry’s Shooting Star Award was only in existence for a short period of time, less than 3 years between 1964-66, to promote Cadbury “Crunchie.” Other recipients of the award were the Beatles, Bob Dylan, the Kinks, the Searchers, Billy Fury and Dusty Springfield. The award was made by Koye Kenning and Spencer of London.–FRY’S SHOOTING STAR AWARD – 1965"

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