Houston Rockets: How Clint Capela can steal the Most Improved Player Award

HOUSTON, TX - MAY 02: Clint Capela #15 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - MAY 02: Clint Capela #15 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /
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Houston Rockets
HOUSTON, TX – APRIL 29: James Harden #13 celebrates with teammate Clint Capela #15 of the Houston Rockets during a time out in the second half during Game One of the Western Conference Semifinals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs against the Utah Jazz at Toyota Center on April 29, 2018 in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

The overall case for Capela to win the MIP Award

First of all, although I know Dinwiddie is honored to be a finalist, this a two-man race between Capela and Oladipo.  After taking a glance at Dinwiddie’s numbers, it’s simply not enough for him to warrant him winning the award and especially because he’s sitting on the couch for the postseason after his team finished 28-54, an improvement but far from exemplary.

It’s not fair to compare offensive stats profusely with Capela with these guys because he’s not asked to do that with the Rockets.  James Harden, Chris Paul, Trevor Ariza, Eric Gordon and to an extent, P.J. Tucker are tasked with that responsibility.

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But it’s fair to compare defensive stats to which Capela has seen vast improvement in proportion to how he’s helped his team be successful.  His defensive win shares have risen 28.5 percent while his defensive rating has remained relatively flat with a 1.9 percent decrease.  Oladipo’s traditional stats have ballooned but his defensive stats have remained relatively the same year-over-year.

Oladipo certainly was the anchor to help lead the Pacers to a respectable 48-34 finish to the season but I think Capela’s impact — especially his vast improvement on defense and how it has contributed to the team’s success — has directly resulted in assisting the Rockets finishing with their best record in franchise history at 65-17, the No. 1 seed and home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.

For that reason, I unequivocally and without reservation or purpose of evasion, I wholeheartedly select Capela as my Most Improved Player Award winner for the 2017-18 season.  I’m aware that Oladipo is the likely favorite but it’s all about impact and he has made every bit — and more — to help this team be the juggernauts that they are.

Capela’s not even the superstar on this team as he lurks behind the shadows of Harden and Paul but Oladipo and Dinwiddie are every bit the focal point of their respective teams.

Next: Why Clint Capela is more valuable than LeBron James

And after all of the dust settles, he will stand as one of the best versatile centers this league has ever seen, padding his resume even more if he adds a championship trophy — and hopefully this seasonal award — to his resume.

We’ll find out Monday, June 25th during the 2nd annual NBA Awards Show scheduled for 8 p.m. CDT to be aired on TNT.

Good luck Clint!