The Warriors’ Jordan Poole, surprisingly, wasn’t a finalist for Most Improved Player

Less than 24 hours after Jordan Poole showed the NBA world just how good he is, he was snubbed for an award many thought he should win.

The NBA on Sunday announced the finalists for its six major awards, and Poole is not among those being considered for the Most Improved Player trophy.

Instead, three other young wardens – Darius Garland, Ja Morant and Dejounte Murray – were named finalists for the award.

Poole was added to the starting lineup at the start of the 2021/22 season while Klay Thompson worked his way back after a 31-month absence, and has become an invaluable member of the rotation.

After averaging 12.0 points in 51 games last season, Poole increased that average to 18.5 this season, filling the gap until Thompson returned on Jan. 9. When Steph Curry suffered a sprained left foot on March 16, Poole rejoined the starting lineup and was promoted even stronger.

From March 16 through the Warriors’ season finale on April 10, Poole averaged 26.0 points in 13 games. In that span, he shot 42.7 percent from the field and 38.2 percent from beyond the 3-point line.

In his first NBA playoff game, Poole scored a game-high 30 points to lead the Warriors past the Denver Nuggets in Game 1 of their first-round series on Saturday night. Although Thompson played well and Curry was back in the lineup after a month’s absence, the 22-year-old guard stole the show.

Poole’s performance against the Nuggets was so good that if Curry is ready to return to the starting lineup, the Warriors will likely have to make a very difficult decision to bring him back into the second unit.

Poole had many recommendations for the Most Improved Player award, some inside the Warriors building and some outside.

“The award is called ‘Most Improved’, not who had the best year, that’s actually the MVP award,” Draymond Green told reporters in early April. “A lot of times we get it mixed up… No disrespect to Ja Morant, but Ja Morant is an MVP candidate. Yes, Morant is not a candidate for Most Improved Player. Yes Morant was amazing last year.

“If you look around, the biggest improvement was Jordan Poole and that goes without saying. You go down the list and you show me what these guys did last year and the year before that and you show me what Jordan did last year and did the year before, he improved the most. If we go by the title of the award, which is the name of the award, it’s Jordan, quite simply.”

For what it’s worth, Morant doesn’t think he should be a Most Improved Player finalist, though he vouched for Memphis Grizzlies teammate Desmond Bane instead.

Former Kings guard Tyrese Haliburton tweeted that he wasn’t sure who should win Defensive Player of the Year or Rookie of the Year but that Poole had his vote for Most Improved Player.

Despite the snub, there could be an advantage if Poole isn’t a MIP finalist.

RELATED: Poole is one of the best young players in the NBA, says Bjelica

Curry, Thompson, and Green all used people who offended them as motivation to get better and prove everyone wrong.

Poole’s confidence and work ethic are well known. Now he has something else that can motivate him to do better. If he capitalizes on this in the right way, he could be a contender for MVP at this point for years to come.

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