The WNBA has announced that Tulsa Shock guard Skylar Diggins has won the 2014 WNBA Most Improved Player Award. Diggins was second in the league in scoring average (20.1), and also was in the Top-5 for assists (5.0) per game.
Nate gave a long take back in early August which puts just how good her improvement was in perspective. To recap, her individual offensive and defensive rating differential went from 85 (Off) to 106 (Def) in 2013 to 110 (Off) and 111 (Def) in 2014. That narrowed a rating differential of -21 to just -1 point per 100 possessions played, while playing more minutes. That's really, really good.
Here is the complete list of candidates who did receive votes in the race:
It is not a surprise that Diggins won this award in a landslide. But let's talk about the three players who were tied for a distant second place for this award.
Washington Mystics forward Emma Meesseman certainly has made considerable improvements, where she has become the best player on her team, and it's nice to see that some people in the national media are recognizing it. Meesseman had a 110-95 rating differential while on the floor, and she definitely has potential to improve even more.
Tulsa Shock center Courtney Paris led the league in rebounding average this season with 10.2 a game. She also significantly improved her field goal percentage from 46.1% in 2013 to 57.4% in 2014. Finally, Allie Quigley saw significantly more time on the floor this season, where she averaged 11.2 points a game and shot nearly 39% from the three point line. She already won the Sixth Woman of the Year award, so that may have lowered her chances of winning two individual player awards.
The fact that Diggins won this award shouldn't be a surprise, but it is definitely well-deserved honor.