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Jeff Green: Would be in the running for the Most Improved Player award if New Jersey's Devin Harris hadn't already run away with it. Green's numbers are up across the board. But for a player to go from a 27-percent 3-point shooter to a 40-percent 3-point shooter in one year is nothing short of phenomenal.


→Chucky Atkins: Sure, he hasn't played since arriving from Denver in the Johan Petro trade on Jan. 7. But what goes unseen is how he's fulfilled his leadership role by pulling younger teammates aside in practices and during timeouts in games to give them advice.

→Kevin Durant: He's improved his scoring and rebounding numbers while becoming a more efficient offensive player. But his turnovers have skyrocketed this month, and he's struggling at the free-throw line. He needs to work on staying strong with the ball and finishing better in traffic. An improved post-up game, better defense and becoming more of a facilitator on offense could also take his game to the next level.


→Nenad Krstic: It's taken him only six games to prove his worth. His mid-range jumper has opened the floor, and his defense has been better than expected.

Joe Smith: Unquestionably the team's most consistent frontcourt player over the first half despite limited minutes, a broken nose and nagging knee injuries. Smith could be on the move as the trading deadline nears, but his consistency on the court and character off it have been significant.

→Russell Westbrook: Surprisingly effective from Day 1 since becoming the starting point guard, which is really all that matters for the No. 4 overall pick and franchise cornerstone. Expect him to build on his starter averages of 15.5 points, 5.5 assist and 4.8 rebounds in the second half.


→Desmond Mason: His statistical production is at its lowest since his rookie year. But it's his hustle and defense that makes him valuable in the lineup, and he's brought that. Needs to improve his career-low 54 percent free-throw shooting.

→Kyle Weaver: Rookie guard waited patiently for his chance and is making the most of it. Stats aren't impressive, but he's shown maturity with his high Basketball IQ and a polished and all-around game.


Nick Collison: Slumped through the first half of the first half by being too unselfish and ultimately inconsistent. Collison averaged just 5.9 points and 5.5 rebounds in his first 20 games. But his true value has become evident in January, with averages of 13.4 points and 9.0 rebounds in five games this month.


→Earl Watson: He's been much more effective and efficient as the backup point guard than the starter. But off-season thumb surgery ruined his offensive game.

→Chris Wilcox: Injuries and inconsistency have defined his first half. Now he's stuck on the bench. Don't be surprised if he's dealt before Feb. 19.


→Robert Swift: Showed flashes of his potential but proved there is walking proof that injury-prone players do exist. His time is likely up in OKC.

→Damien Wilkins: Got his chance as the starting shooting guard from Nov. 22-Dec. 16 but averaged 6.2 points on 33.3-percent shooting while doing little else (1.9 rebounds and 1.6 assists).


→Mo Sene: Has played a combined 23 minutes in five games this season.

→D.J. White: Has yet to play because of jaw surgery.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: January 21, 2009


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