NEW YORK – Denver Nuggets guard Axel Toupane, formerly of Raptors 905, has been named the 2015-16 NBA Development League Most Improved Player, as voted on by the league’s 19 head coaches. The award honors the player who demonstrated the most significant improvement during the NBA D-League season.
Toupane (6-7, 210, France) played in 32 games for Raptors 905 this season, averaging 14.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.0 steals. His best month was January, when he averaged 17.5 points, 5.4 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.6 steals, an improvement nearly across the board from his December averages of 12.0 points, 5.9 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 0.6 steals.
His two 30-point games this season both came in January, including a career-high 34 points to go with six assists and four steals in a 111-91 win over the Erie BayHawks on Jan. 21 – part of a six-game winning streak for Raptors 905. For the season, six of Toupane’s seven games with at least 20 points and all six of his games with six or more assists were recorded after December.
On March 3, Toupane received a GATORADE Call-Up when he signed a 10-day contact with the Nuggets. He remained on the team for the rest of the season and averaged 3.6 points and 1.5 rebounds in 21 games. On April 2, he scored a career-high 14 and grabbed three rebounds against the Sacramento Kings.
Toupane played for Strasbourg IG in France of the French Pro A League from 2011-2015 before signing with the Toronto Raptors last July. In 2015, he helped Strasbourg become regular-season champion for the second straight year and win both the French Cup and French Leaders Cup.
All-Time NBA D-League Most Improved Player Award Winners:
2015-16: Axel Toupane (Raptors 905)
2014-15: Joe Jackson (Bakersfield Jam)
2013-14: Frank Gaines (Maine Red Claws)
2012-13: Cameron Jones (Santa Cruz Warriors)
2011-12: Kenny Hayes (Maine Red Claws)
2010-11: Dar Tucker (New Mexico Thunderbirds)
2009-10: Mildon Ambres (Idaho Stampede)
The NBA Development League is the NBA’s official minor league, preparing players, coaches, officials, trainers, and front-office staff for the NBA while acting as the league’s research and development laboratory. Featuring 19 teams with direct affiliations with NBA franchises for the 2015-16 season, the league offers elite professional basketball at an affordable price in a fun, family-friendly atmosphere. An all-time high 38 percent of all NBA players at the end of the 2014-15 season boasted NBA D-League experience. In fostering the league’s connection to the community, its teams, players and staff promote health and wellness, support local needs and interests, and assist in educational development through NBA D-League Cares programs. Fans can watch all NBA D-League games on nbadleague.com.