The Most Improved Player award is obviously meant to go to someone that's shown improvement over the course of a season. But what if we awarded the player that has managed to turn a miserable season around in the final two months? It would be incredibly entertaining if there was an award like that. 

The All-Star break is behind us, and everybody's goals have been clearly laid out for the rest of the season. Every player and every team in the league has something to aim for -- whether it's reaching the playoffs, ping pong balls for the lottery, or just some sort of self improvement.

Players like J.R. Smith and Rajon Rondo need to prove they still have something in the tank for their respective teams. Andrew Wiggins has been fine this season, but has he proven he's worth the value of his contract yet? A lot of critics would say no.

These are the type of players that are fascinating to watch as the season reaches it's conclusion. Nobody has more to prove than them. Of course, there are guys playing for a new contract and young guys trying to cap off their seasons as well. Everybody has a reason to step up this final stretch. Some more than others.

Biggest Movers
7 Pelicans
6 Pistons
1 Rockets The Rockets have won 12 straight, but there's always room for improvement. They picked up Joe Johnson after he was bought out from the Kings. Johnson was in the midst of a miserable season. Let's see if the post-All-Star break stretch can give him a return to form. -- 20-62
2 Warriors Anybody that is struggling on the Warriors will be fine by the playoffs. That's how this always works. 1 53-29
3 Raptors The Raptors honestly haven't had a weak point this season. Their roster has just played that well from top to bottom. The only way they could possible improve is by having Kyle Lowry return to the peak form we are accustomed to seeing. His numbers are actually down this season compared to some of his previous ones. 1 48-34
4 Nuggets Paul Millsap is coming back from a wrist injury soon and getting him back into the system in game shape should be the Nuggets' top priority, especially with the playoffs looming. They could be a really dangerous dark horse come playoff time if he's at his best. 4 48-34
5 Jazz Utah's offense as a whole just needs a boost. It has its best offensive stretches when Ricky Rubio is on top of his game, but those moments aren't always consistent. If he can play his best basketball to finish out the season then the Jazz could be in a really good place come April. 1 49-33
6 Trail Blazers Last season, the Jusuf Nurkic trade helped push Portland into the playoffs. The Blazers need that Nurkic to show up again in the final stretch to push them to the finish line. -- 27-55
7 Pacers Indiana runs as Victor Oladipo does. He's blossomed into a star this season and they need him to keep that up for just another month and a half. Do that and the Pacers could be in the playoffs with home-court advantage for at least one round. 2 25-57
8 Celtics Greg Monroe was signed to provide Boston the size needed to stand up to bigger teams. So far he's been a disaster, and that's something the Celtics will need to figure out before the playoffs. 1 51-31
9 Wizards The Wizards are 9-3 since John Wall sat out for surgery. Does that say more about Wall or the Wizards themselves? It's true that Wall wasn't at the level that's become expected of him before the injury and he needs to step up when he returns from surgery, but the Wizards need to figure out what's working and keep it that way. -- 35-47
10 76ers Trevor Booker could be better for the 76ers. He doesn't always show the aggressiveness that the team could use and it leaves Philadelphia asking for more. He could really help the Sixers' post-All-Star break push with some strong play to finish the season. 1 51-31
11 Timberwolves With Jimmy Butler tearing rehabbing from a torn meniscus, it will be up to Andrew Wiggins to shoulder the load for the Timberwolves. He signed a huge contract over the summer, but his progress has felt stunted this season. This is a great chance for him to prove his worth. 1 46-36
12 Pelicans Rajon Rondo just isn't the star caliber point guard he was in his glory days, but that isn't the what the Pelicans need from him. They just need a guard they can give the ball to an not expect everything to fall apart when he's on the floor. So far, that hasn't been what they've gotten from him. 7 36-46
13 Clippers As weird as this sounds, the Clippers really need Austin Rivers to play well for them to finish out the season. Yes, that's right. He's one of their better perimeter defenders and DeAndre Jordan can't clean up the slack. Rivers will need to step up if they want to improve their odds at making the playoffs. 1 42-40
14 Bucks Most of the Bucks' problems are rooted in changes that can't be fixed until the offseason. However, Eric Bledsoe could be the key to how successful they are for the rest of the season. He's the best option they have not named Giannis Antetokounmpo. He's been good, but can he be better? 1 51-31
15 Hornets If the Hornets are going to be a playoff team then they need Nicolas Batum to be better than he's been this season. He hasn't looked anything like the player they signed to a huge contract and right now he's hurting the Hornets with his play. 7 43-39
16 Cavaliers J.R. Smith needs to be better if the Cavs are going to have any shot at another title run. He managed to survive the trade deadline, and has had flashes of the player he was during their 2016 championship, but his struggles have stretched back into last season. His jumper has to come back at some point, doesn't it? 2 44-38
17 Thunder Carmelo Anthony has been fine so far this season. He's doing what's asked of him, but his reduced role to a jump shooter has limited his offensive capability. Anthony is at his best when he's bullying his defender because it means he's getting trips to the free-throw line. He should take advantage of that more when he gets the chance. -- 24-58
18 Spurs Now that Rudy Gay is back from a right heel injury, he'll need to start playing like he was at the beginning of the season. He played a crucial role for San Antonio off the bench and is an extra creator that it can use when LaMarcus Aldridge is being stonewalled. 3 34-48
19 Lakers Kentavious Caldwell-Pope doesn't have much time left to prove he's worth the contract he'll be seeking this summer. He's shown some improvements from how he played in Detroit, especially from 3-point range, but he still hasn't shown too much on defense. 3 33-49
20 Pistons It feels like an eternity since the Pistons looked like a playoff team. They can keep throwing new parts together (Blake Griffin trade), but Stan Van Gundy is the one that needs to solve this problem if they have any hope at the playoffs. 6 23-59
21 Heat The Hassan Whiteside dilemma continues. He's actually a far better defender this season than he's been in the past, but his offense doesn't fit the system Miami wants to run. It leaves him in a very awkward spot where his best talents hurt the team, but the team's system doesn't help him. 1 53-29
22 Hawks Dennis Schroder is supposed to be the Hawks' best player, but it feels like he's putting up numbers on a bad team. He has good opportunity to use the end of this season as proof that he's someone worth buying into for the future. 1 43-39
23 Kings Almost all rookies are bad in terms of net rating. That said, De'Aaron Fox has an especially atrocious net rating for the Kings this season. This doesn't mean anything in terms of his career outlook, but it shows there's room for improvement. 1 30-52
24 Bulls Zach Lavine doesn't have to prove anything to anybody, but it would be nice to see him finish the season strong after spending so much of it recovering from last season's knee injury. 1 46-36
25 Mavericks Dennis Smith Jr. has been steadily improving as the season has gone on. This is the time of the year when rookies really get their chance to shine. With the Mavericks clearly playing for ping pong balls, this is his chance to do just that. 1 52-30
26 Magic Bismack Biyombo could be in real danger of a young and energetic Khem Birch taking his minutes. His only skills (rim protection and rebounding) just aren't enough to make up for the holes he's bringing to the Magic's system. He needs to finish the season strong. 5 22-60
27 Knicks Just let Frank Ntilikina do whatever he wants and get out of his way. He's earned a chance to be a starter and it's mind-boggling that the Knicks have yet to give him that chance. 3 37-45
28 Grizzlies It's hard to find positives for the rest of the season with a team like the Griz. They lack the young guys that need a strong finish or the veterans that could use the boost. They're just stuck in basketball purgatory playing for lottery balls. -- 56-26
29 Nets Now that D'Angelo Russell is back, it will be interesting to see how he finishes the season. The Nets have nothing to play for but self improvement and hurting the value of Cleveland's draft pick. -- 44-38
30 Suns Elfrid Payton struggled in Orlando and he's going to be a restricted free agent this offseason. This is the time for him to prove he's worth a contract. 3 64-18