The NBA Most Improved Player Award is one of the hardest awards to predict. There are so many talented young players in the NBA that improve every season that it is hard to choose one. Las Vegas has already released their odds with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander coming in as the favorite (+700). So who will win the Most Improved Player Award this season? Here are the projections for the three finalists and winner of this award.
NBA Most Improved Player Award Predictions
3. Kevin Porter Jr. – PG/SG (Houston Rockets)
Coming into the season with the fourth-best odds (+900), it would not be shocking to Kevin Porter Jr. win this award. Porter Jr. finished his sophomore season with averages of 16.6 points and 6.3 assists in 32.1 minutes per game. The only things holding him back from being a star are efficiency and John Wall. Wall will be rested throughout the year and is injury prone, so Porter Jr. should become the starting point guard at some point during the season. Last year Porter Jr. shot only 31.1 percent from three-point range and averaged 3.5 turnovers per game. If he wants to be an elite point guard in the NBA, these stats need to be improved. Porter Jr. has flashed his upside last season, including his famous 50 points, 11 assists game against the eventual champion Milwaukee Bucks. At 21 years old, the ceiling for Porter Jr. is immense, and the opportunity is there to show he should be a franchise cornerstone.
2. Jaren Jackson Jr. – PF/C (Memphis Grizzlies)
After coming back from a meniscus tear late last season, Jaren Jackson Jr. is ready to take the NBA by storm this year. The Grizzlies traded Jonas Valanciunas, their best big man, for Steven Adams this offseason. This has left an offensive void that needs to be filled. The main question for the Grizzlies this season is who will be the second option behind Ja Morant. Jackson Jr. will be that guy this year. He averaged 25.3 points in three bubble games in 2020 before suffering his torn meniscus. While he is unlikely to average that many points this season, he should be able to flirt with around 20 points per game. Jackson Jr. will be 22 years old entering this season, so he still has room to grow. The Grizzlies are all-in on his development and he has a chance to fully break out this season on a depleted Memphis squad.
1. Michael Porter Jr.- SF/PF (Denver Nuggets) – NBA Most Improved Player Award Favorite
Michael Porter Jr. finished third for this award last year and this year he wins it. Jamal Murray is out for the season and Porter Jr. will now be the second option on the Nuggets. He has the potential to average 25 points per game this season and put himself into the all-star conversation. Among all of the players with the best odds at winning this award, Porter Jr. has the best chance. He only averaged 19 points per game last year and now will now be taking on a larger role this season. He is already an efficient shooter (54% FG, 44% 3PT), so with more volume, his numbers will go up. Porter Jr. has only played two seasons in the NBA and has already shown his all-star upside. This season, he takes the leap from a good player to NBA All-Star.
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