The NBA has awarded the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award since the end of the 1985-86 season. Since it was first given to Alvin Robertson of the San Antonio Spurs, 36 players have taken home the award. Last year, Julius Randle of the New York Knicks took home Most Improved Player honors.
Randle had career high numbers in points per game (24.1), minutes per game (37.6), three-point percentage (.411), free throw percentage (.811) rebounds per game (10.2), assists per game (6) and steals per game (.9) in 2021. The team rewarded Randle with a four-year, $117 million extension for his play during his Most Improved Player season.
This season, there are three players who are serious candidates for Most Improved Player. Before we look at those players, Ja Morant, Miles Bridges and Darius Garland check out the best NBA betting sites and our NBA MVP betting odds guide.
NBA Most Improved Player Odds
|To Win Most Improved Player 2022|
Ja Morant — superstar?
How impressive has Ja Morant been this season for the Memphis Grizzlies? He’s not only the leading candidate for the Most Improved Player award, but he has also found his name among the players being considered for the MVP. Morant is a longshot to win MVP, but he is the favorite to take home the MIP award.
Morant is in his third season in the NBA. The 22-year-old, who was the No. 2 pick in the 2019 NBA entry draft, is having a career season in points (25.3), field goal percentage (48.7%) and three-point percentage (35%). Morant is also playing much better defensively. He has increased his numbers in rebounds per game (6), blocks (0.4), steals (1.3).
(via The Draymond Green Show) pic.twitter.com/Jv4LXI2WzG
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 20, 2022
The talk on Morant is that this is the season where he could go from star of the Grizzlies to NBA superstar.
Miles Bridges makes his move
The Los Angeles Clippers selected Miles Bridges with the 12th pick in the first round of the 2018 NBA draft. Bridges was traded on draft night to the Charlotte Hornets for the player who was picked one spot before him, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
Now in his third season in the NBA, Bridges leads the Hornets in points per game (20.1), rebounds (7.3) and blocks (0.9). On January 17th, Bridges scored a career high 38 points in a 97-87 win over the New York Knicks.
Miles Bridges on 🔥 in the first quarter! pic.twitter.com/eRt77Vr9dk
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) January 27, 2022
Bridges had a great month in October. He averaged nearly 25 points per game that month and even though he’s cooled off in scoring, he’s still on pace to set career highs in points, rebounds, assists, blocks, steals, and free throw attempts.
Darius Garland states his case
Darius Garland went to the Cleveland Cavaliers with the fifth overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft. The 22-year-old is now in his third season playing for the Cavs and it looks like he is set to have his best year for the club.
What is noteworthy about Garland is that he is becoming a more efficient player. His field goal percentage his gone from 40.1 percent in his rookie season to 46.5 percent today. His field goal attempts were 14.9 per game last season. This year he is at 16.1 per game, but his points per game have jumped from 17.4 to 19.7. Garland is the leading scorer on a pretty balanced Cleveland team.
Darius Garland said that Steph Curry, LeBron James, and Damian Lillard reached out to him this season, complimenting him on his play. ✊🔥
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) January 21, 2022
With injuries to Collin Sexton and Ricky Rubio, Garland has stepped up his game in 2021-22.
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