The Phoenix Suns have more reason to be thrilled about their solid 2013-14 NBA season. After narrowly missing out on the NBA Playoffs with a solid 48-34 record, they now boast the league’s Most Improved Player.

Point guard Goran Dragic officially was honored with the award on Wednesday, following a terrific fifth season in which he acted as the team’s quarterback on offense and was often a go-to scorer on offense. Dragic established career highs across the board during the 2013-14 NBA season, as he averaged 20.3 points, 5.9 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game.

Dragic also posted a True Shooting Percentage of 60.4% on the year, finishing second only to Stephen Curry. Indiana Pacers guard Lance Stephenson finished second behind Dragic in the Most Improved Player voting, while New Orleans Pelicans big man Anthony Davis finished third.

Dragic was extremely impressive throughout the 2013-14 season, taking over as the team’s top player when star guard Eric Bledsoe was out due to injury. Dragic did a solid job keeping the Suns afloat even with Bledsoe out, and the two teamed up down the stretch to almost get Phoenix back into the playoffs. The Suns ultimately failed to get into post-season play, but Dragic also displayed toughness and leadership by playing through an ankle injury in the final games.

Originally drafted in 2008 by the Suns to be the heir apparent to star point guard Steve Nash, Dragic ended up signing with the Houston Rockets in 2010. Dragic received his first shot at serious minutes on a consistent basis in 2011 with the Rockets, where he put up averages of 11.7 points, 5.3 assists, 2.5 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game in 66 appearances. He started the following season in Houston, raising his averages across the board, most notably points (14.7) and assists (7.4).

Dragic was eventually traded back to Phoenix, where he elevated his game to borderline superstar level this past season. With Dragic and a cast of young talent in place, the Suns appear to have a very bright future ahead of them. Dragic’s rise in play being recognized is arguably the first step toward even greater success.

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