2022 NBA Most Improved Player Predictions, Betting Odds, Picks

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With the NBA season back to an 82-game schedule, we are getting to see the full potential of the league’s players. We’ve seen some stellar jumps in play from some players, who are all in consideration for the Most Improved Player award!

2022 NBA Most Improved Player Odds

Odds taken from DraftKings Sportsbook

Player Team Odds
Ja Morant Memphis Grizzlies -650
Miles Bridges Charlotte Hornets +750
Darius Garland Cleveland Cavaliers +1200
Dejounte Murray San Antonio Spurs +1600
Anfernee Simons Portland Trail Blazers +3500
Desmond Bane Memphis Grizzlies +6500
Jarrett Allen Cleveland Cavaliers +7000
Tyler Herro Miami Heat +15000
Tyrese Maxey Philadelphia 76ers +15000
Anthony Edwards Minnesota Timberwolves +25000

Every year the NBA’s Most Improved Player award is presented to a player who has shown an exceptional growth over one season. The NBA hopes to present the award at the annual NBA Awards show, which has been cancelled for the past two seasons due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Most Improved Player award is usually an indicator of the potential of one of the league’s more overlooked players. Many have gone on to build their career after winning the award, becoming All-Stars, NBA Champions, and even Hall of Famers!

Let’s answer some of the most important questions about the NBA Most Improved Player Award.

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NBA Most Improved Player

Who is the Favorite to Win NBA Most Improved Player in 2022?

(G) Ja Morant – 6-3, 174 lb (190 cm, 78 kg) – United States

Season Team Age Games MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P%
20-21 MEM 21 63 32.6 19.1 4.0 7.4 0.9 0.2 .449 .303
21-22 MEM 22 46 33.2 26.8 5.8 7.9 1.2 0.4 .495 .330

Memphis Grizzlies star guard Ja Morant is the clear frontrunner to be the NBA’s Most Improved Player for 2022. After a stellar rookie campaign, Morant seems to have made the jump from prospect to superstar.

Despite having to take on more responsibility due to a change of personnel and injuries, Morant has thrived. After averaging just 19.1 points per game in his sophomore season, Morant has averaged 26.8 points, 6.9 assists, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game through the first phase of the 2021-2022 season.

Morant’s personal success, combined with the fact that he’s led the Grizzlies to third in the West after 50 games, makes him a near shoe-in for the Most Improved Player award. Barring a drastic drop in form through the last phase of the season, Morant should be adding another award to his trophy cabinet.

Who Was the 2021 NBA Most Improved Player?

Julius Randle of the New York Knicks won the NBA’s Most Improved Player award in 2021. After a career where Randle was figured to never meet his potential, Randle led the Knicks to the 2021 Playoffs with the best season of his career.

Randle was an all-around threat in his Most Improved Player winning season. He averaged 24.1 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 6.0 assists in 71 games with the New York Knicks.

The NBA’s voting panel almost unanimously voted Randle in as Most Improved Player of the Year. He accumulated 98.0 of a possible 100 first place votes, with Detroit Pistons forward Jerami Grant coming in second with 2.0 first place votes.

When Will the NBA Most Improved Player be Announced?

The winner of the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award is expected to be announced following the conclusion of the NBA Finals, at the annual NBA Awards. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic the last two NBA Awards shows were cancelled.

Prior to the introduction of the NBA Awards, the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award was given at the end of the NBA’s regular season. The award ceremony tended to take place on an off day during the NBA Playoffs, or prior to a game that they were participating in.

NBA Most Improved Player by Year

Year Player Team Nationality
2021 Julius Randle New York Knicks United States
2020 Brandon Ingram New Orleans Pelicans United States
2019 Pascal Siakam Toronto Raptors Cameroon
2018 Victor Oladipo Indiana Pacers United States
2017 Giannis Antetokounmpo Milwaukee Bucks Greece
2016 CJ McCollum Portland Trail Blazers United States
2015 Jimmy Butler Chicago Bulls United States
2014 Goran Dragic Phoenix Suns Slovenia
2013 Paul George Indiana Pacers United States
2012 Ryan Anderson Orlando Magic United States
2011 Kevin Love Minnesota Timberwolves United States
2010 Aaron Brooks Houston Rockets United States
2009 Danny Granger Indiana Pacers United States
2008 Hedo Turkoglu Orlando Magic Turkey
2007 Monta Ellis Golden State Warriors United States
2006 Boris Diaw Phoenix Suns France
2005 Bobby Simmons LA Clippers United States
2004 Zach Randolph Portland Trail Blazers United States
2003 Gilbert Arenas Golden State Warriors United States
2002 Jermaine O’Neal Indiana Pacers United States
2001 Tracy McGrady Orlando Magic United States
2000 Jalen Rose Indiana Pacers United States
1999 Darrell Armstrong Orlando Magic United States
1998 Alan Henderson Atlanta Hawks United States
1997 Isaac Austin Miami Heat United States
1996 Gheroghe Muresan Washington Bullets Romania
1995 Dana Barros Philadelphia 76ers United States
1994 Don MacLean Washington Bullets United States
1993 Chris Jackson Denver Nuggets United States
1992 Pervis Ellison Washington Bullets United States
1991 Scott Skiles Orlando Magic United States
1990 Rony Seikaly Miami Heat United States
1989 Kevin Johnson Phoenix Suns United States
1988 Kevin Duckworth Portland Trail Blazers United States
1987 Dale Ellis Seattle SuperSonics United States
1986 Alvin Robertson San Antonio Spurs United States

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Does the NBA Most Improved Player Receive A Prize?

The winner of the NBA’s Most Improved Player does not receive a prize per se. In commemoration of their accomplishment, the award winner is written into NBA history as one of its most notable players.

The Most Improved Player Award tends to signal the growth of a player and who to expect more from as their career moves forward.

Have Any Most Improved Player Winners Become All-Stars?

There have been 19 Most Improved Player winners who have gone on to become NBA All-Stars. Alvin Robertson, Dana Barros, Tracy McGrady, Jermaine O’Neal, Danny Granger, Kevin Love, Paul George, Jimmy Butler, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Victor Oladipo, Brandon Ingram, and Julius Randle won the award and became an All-Star in the same season.

Dale Ellis, Kevin Duckworth, Kevin Johnson, Gilbert Arenas, Zach Randolph, Goran Dragic, and Pascal Siakam went on to become All-Stars in subsequent seasons after winning the award.

Boris Diaw, Kevin Love, Pascal Siakam, and Giannis Antetokounmpo are the only winners who went on to become NBA Champions!

Tracy McGrady is the only Most Improved Player winner to be named to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame!

Is the NBA Most Improved Player Determined by Fan Vote?

The NBA Most Improved Player Award is determined by a panel of sportswriters across the United States and Canada. Each panel member is allowed a first-, second-, and third-place vote worth 5, 3, and 1 points respectively. The player with the highest point total wins the award.

Has There Ever Been a Unanimous Most Improved Player?

There has never been a unanimous winner of the Most Improved Player award. Victor Oladipo and Julius Randle are the closest to having been named unanimous winners, earning 99 and 98 first place votes respectively.

Have There Ever Been Joint Most Improved Player Winners?

There have never been joint Most Improved Player winners, nor have any players won the award multiple times.

Has an International Player Ever Won Most Improved Player?

By nature of the NBA being an American league, the United States have dominated the Most Improved Player award. However, there have been six different non-American winners of the Most Improved Player award.

  • Pascal Siakam – Cameroon (2019)
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo – Greece (2017)
  • Goran Dragic – Slovenia (2014)
  • Hedo Turkoglu – Turkey (2008)
  • Boris Diaw – France (2006)
  • Gheroghe Muresan – Romania (1996)

Who Won the First NBA Most Improved Player Award?

The first ever winner of the Most Improved Player Award was Alvin Robertson of the San Antonio Spurs. In just his second season, Robertson went on to average 17.0 points, 6.3 rebounds, 5.5 assists, and 3.7 steals per game after playing in all 82 games.

Robertson went on to become the 1986 Defensive Player of the Year, six-time All-Defensive Team member, a four-time All-Star, and three-time steals champion.

Which Position Has Won the Most Most Improved Player Awards?

Guard (13)

Guards tend to have a great impact on the game, but the speed of the NBA tends to keep players from making an immediate impact.

Playmakers and defenders like Scott Skiles and Alvin Robertson just needed a few years to find their comfort and impact. However, pure scorers like Gilbert Arenas and Aaron Brooks needed to hone their skills as well as find the right fit for their game.

Forward (18)

The forward position has seen the most growth through the history of the NBA, so it shouldn’t be a surprise to see so many winners of the Most Improved Player award.

Some players undergo an entire positional change like Boris Diaw and Giannis Antetokounmpo and almost reinvent their game. Others like Hedo Turkoglu and Pascal Siakam took a few years to realize their potential as unique talents.

Center (5)

Centers seem to be the least likely to win the Most Improved Player award. Through history they’ve been players dependent on their teammates to generate offence, especially if they don’t have immediate offensive talent.

There are rarely large jumps in skill or production amongst centers, but don’t count out the defensive and efficiency growth of centers as seen through Gheorghe Muresan and Kevin Duckworth.

Who is the Youngest Ever NBA Most Improved Player?

By nature of the Most Improved Player Award, the player pool for the award are at least in their sophomore season. Sometimes, one year is all it takes for a player to find their ground in the league.

In order, the five youngest winners of the Most Improved Player Award are:

Year Age Player Position Team D.O.B.
06-07 21 Monta Ellis Guard Golden State Warriors 26 October, 1985
00-01 21 Tracy McGrady Guard/Forward Orlando Magic 24 May, 1979
02-03 21 Gilbert Arenas Guard Golden State Warriors 6 January, 1982
10-11 22 Kevin Love Forward Minnesota Timberwolves 7 September, 1988
16-17 22 Giannis Antetokounmpo Forward Milwaukee Bucks 6 December, 1994

Who is the Oldest Ever NBA Most Improved Player?

The Most Improved Player Award celebrates the work ethic of some of the NBA’s most notable players. Growth is not limited to age, as shown by a number of winners.

In order, the five oldest winners of the Most Improved Player Award are:

Year Age Player Position Team D.O.B
98-99 30 Darrell Armstrong Guard Orlando Magic 22 June, 1968
07-08 28 Hedo Turkoglu Forward Orlando Magic 19 March, 1979
96-97 27 Isaac Austin Center Miami Heat 18 August, 1969
13-14 27 Goran Dragic Guard Phoenix Suns 6 May, 1986
94-95 27 Dana Barros Guard Philadelphia 76ers 13 April, 1967

Which NBA Franchises Have Produced the Most NBA Most Improved Player Winners?

Number of Awards Team Years
5 Indiana Pacers 2000, 2002, 2009, 2013, 2018
Orlando Magic 1991, 1999, 2001, 2008, 2012
3 Washington Bullets 1992, 1994, 1996
Phoenix Suns 1989, 2006, 2014
Portland Trail Blazers 1988, 2004, 2016
2 Miami Heat 1990, 1997
Golden State Warriors 2003, 2007
1 San Antonio Spurs 1986
Seattle SuperSonics 1987
Denver Nuggets 1993
Philadelphia 76ers 1995
Atlanta Hawks 1998
LA Clippers 2005
Houston Rockets 2010
Minnesota Timberwolves 2011
Chicago Bulls 2015
Milwaukee Bucks 2017
Toronto Raptors 2019
New Orleans Pelicans 2020
New York Knicks 2021

Which NBA Franchises Have Never Produced a Most Improved Player?

There are 10 teams that haven’t produced a Most Improved Player winner:

  • Boston Celtics
  • Brooklyn Nets
  • Charlotte Hornets
  • Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Dallas Mavericks
  • Detroit Pistons
  • Los Angeles Lakers
  • Memphis Grizzlies
  • Oklahoma City Thunder
  • Utah Jazz

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Christian Jope

Expert on NBA

Christian Jope is a writer, social media strategist, and data analyst. A Queen’s University Alumni, Christian is an author and social media strategist with Raptors Cage, while also working closely with MLSE and Canada Basketball through community-driven events.

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