Spurs' Most Improved Player - Zach Collins
In his rookie year, I hope Jeramy Sochan gets to start or at least play a lot more than Spurs’ rookies have in the past. The only issue with that is Sochan cannot space the floor with his non-existent outside shot, so he and Poeltl will clog up the paint.
The solution to that is to pair Sochan with Zach Collins. Collins can step out and hit the jump shot, and his defensive prowess is no match for Poeltl’s, although he is still an above-average defender.
That means Collins will be able to play well alongside Sochan, helping him adjust to the NBA and covering any growing pains the rookie may have. Collins and Sochan should share the court for at least 30 minutes a night, meaning Collins will finally get the playtime he never got in Portland.
Granted, that lack of playing time was largely due to injury, but if Collins can stay healthy, he could cement himself as the center of the future. A very understated free agent acquisition last season, Collins was behind Jock Landale, Poeltl, and Keita Bates-Diop in the center rotation, so he was a little lost.
If Collins can piece it all together, he could be a solid double-double threat with efficient offense and good defense. Sounds like a big improvement to me, hence him running away with this award.