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

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Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen is the winner of the NBA'sMost Improved Player award and the recipient of the George MikanTrophy.

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

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

This season, Markkanen averaged 25.6 points, 8.6 rebounds, 3.0threes 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 waseasily the best season of his NBA career, and the 25-year-oldbecame a first-time All-Star.

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

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

The balloting was tabulated by the independent accounting firmErnst & Young LLP. Complete ballots for each voter will bereleased by the NBA after the announcement of all end-of-seasonawards.

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