With the NBA season getting started this month it’s time to take a look at the favorites for Most Improved Player. Whoever goes on to win this season’s award will follow in the footsteps of Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam. Check out online gambling slots Canada for gambling options outside of NBA prop bets.
Ranking NBA Most Improved Player Candidates
5. Jarrett Allen – Brooklyn Nets
Brooklyn Nets big man Jarrett Allen is primed for a breakout this season. Allen is coming off of a season in which he averaged 10.9 points and 8.4 rebounds per game.
While DeAndre Jordan is in the fold, taking some chances away from Allen, Allen has already shown the ability to be very productive in just 23.3 minutes per game in his first two seasons.
What should excite Nets fans is the ability Allen has shown on the defensive end of the floor. He is averaging 2.1 blocks per 36 minutes in his career and is responsible for 4.8 defensive win shares over his first two seasons.
However, this season, expect Allen to take his offensive game to the next level. He was able to average double-digits last season, but with Jordan being a lob threat, Allen will have extra chances to be one-on-one in the post.
4. Mitchell Robinson – New York Knicks
The main word here is opportunity. At the end of last season, Robinson was given a plethora playing time and he took advantage.
In his last 22 games, he averaged 9.6 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. Most impressive, however, was him averaging 2.9 blocks per game in that stretch.
The New York Knicks are going to be bad again, giving Robinson a chance to put up huge numbers.
Expect Robinson to be top-three in the league in blocked shots, putting his name at the forefront of this race.
3. Julius Randle – New York Knicks
Much like Mitchell Robinson, Julius Randle is going to put up big numbers on a bad team.
Now, he did put up big numbers a season ago as a member of the New Orleans Pelicans, scoring 21.4 points and grabbing 8.7 rebounds per game.
What will hurt Randle in this race is his numbers last season. It’s going to be hard to improve on the numbers put up last season. However, with Randle playing in the New York market, it will be noticed more, despite him playing on a better team last season.
It’s very possible that Randle could be an All-Star in the East this season.
2. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
There’s still a chance that Chris Paul is dealt by the Thunder during this season. However, even if that doesn’t happen, Gilgeous-Alexander is someone the team is going to build around.
Coming off of a season of 10.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game, Gilgeous-Alexander is going to put up even better numbers this season with more responsibility.
1. Dejounte Murray – San Antonio Spurs
After missing all of last season, any numbers San Antonio Spurs guard Dejounte Murray puts up will be an improvement.
Murray showed flashes of being a great all-around point guard two seasons ago before he got hurt. That season he put scored 8.1 points, with 5.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game. On top of that, Murray was good for 3.4 defensive win shares that season.
If Murray shows improved efficiency on the offensive end of the floor, he will be one of the better two-way point guards in the league this season with the way he can play defense.
For San Antonio, expectations are all over the place coming into this season. Of course, they have been one of the more stable franchises if not the most stable in North American sports over the past couple of decades. For them to continue their playoff streak in a loaded Western Conference, Murray will need to play up to the level he’s capable of.
And if he plays up to that level, he will be right there for Most Improved Player. He will also show that he can be the next great Spur.