It’s go again. Who says NBA season says individual awards, and among those that of the Most Improved Player is particularly appreciated. If some of the former winners have not necessarily confirmed subsequently (Bobby Simmons, Aaron Brooks …), others have launched in their MIP season a career of future Hall Of Famer (Tracy McGrady, Giannis …) while the Most of them followed with a really solid career (Gilbert Arenas, Boris Diaw, Jimmy Butler, CJ McCollum…). Who are the leaders of the MIP race after two and a half months of the regular season? Let’s go to the checkpoint!
(Stats stopped at December 30)
# 10 OG Anunoby
Hey, wait, we’re still not gonna kick a guy off the standings because he’s injured, are we? On the verge of getting out of the ten the OG of the Raptors, but let’s not forget that before taking the bench because of a whistling hip, the bodybuilder winger was running at full speed in a team that does not however lack suitors in the race for leadership. Always so versatile, the fierce defender has added offensive skills to his range and if the VanVleet / Siakam doublet does the job, the trio of young shoots he forms with Scottie Barnes and Gary Trent Jr. represents a great opportunity to smile at the Canada. Good, but if not, when does Oscar Guillaume come back? Ah, we’re being told he’s one of the 850 Raptors in the COVID protocol and will likely be back in early January. Finally !
2020-21 Stats: 15.9 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.5 steals and 0.7 against in 33.3 minutes
Stats 2021-22: 19.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.5 steals and 0.6 against in 36.8 minutes
# 9 Cole Anthony
First departure from the famous « regulation » which would like to prohibit us from mentioning sophomores (second year) in the race for the trophy of MIP, but Monta Ellis and Gilbert Arenas laughed while reading this sentence. The truth is that, this season, some players in year 2 are more than improving, they are literally exploding. A 33/2/2/3/3 in a victory against the Jazz (!) Had particularly put us in the ear at the beginning of the season, and after a short period of absence the son of Greg took over the business. where he had left them, in the company of astonishing Gary Harris and a maddening rookie named Franz Wagner. Thrill player par excellence, already a clutch and he proved it to us in his rookie season, CA has turned this season into a handyman and promises us a few more cards until April.
2020-21 Stats: 12.9 points at 39.7% shooting including 33.7% from parking and 83.2% from throwing, 4.7 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 0.6 steal in 27.1 minutes
Stats 2021-22: 20 points at 41.8% shooting including 35.4% from parking and 87.6% from throwing, 6 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 0.8 steal in 34.2 minutes
# 8 Tyrese Maxey
Here again a sophomore, again – as often – a statistical progression, but Tyrese Maxey has above all become, like his friend above, a player who counts in the NBA. Racy striker capable of big shots of heat, ultra-solid defender forming with Matisse Thybulle and Joel Embiid a very complicated trident to break, and a role with the Sixers which was increased tenfold when Ben Simmons began to puddle . Averages that have doubled, a leader status already in the Doc Rivers roster, and if Philly struggles to get its T-Max season off the ground clearly does not have much to do with it.
Stats 2020-21: 8 points at 46.2% shooting including 30.1% from parking and 87.1% from throwing, 1.7 rebound, 2 assists, 0.4 steal and 0.2 against in 15.3 minutes
Stats 2021-22: 16.5 points at 47% shooting including 36% from parking and 87.1% from throwing, 3.4 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 0.7 steal and 0.6 against in 34.6 minutes
# 7 Jalen Brunson
Not the flashiest of the bunch but then… what a cleanliness. Free agent next summer Jalen risks having a lot of messages on his answering machine as he proves this season that he is perhaps more than just a replacement. The percentages have fallen a bit but the responsibilities are no longer the same due to 1) Luka’s repeated absences and 2)… his talent. Bah yeah, today if you are looking for an attacking leader, not too expensive, complete and constant in the effort? Jalen will be your man, and it is notably thanks to his progress that the Mavs are doing for the moment with a not too disgusting record. Gentlemen, take out the checkbook, next season it’s 5/20/6 at a contender. You can fav.
2020-21 Stats: 12.6 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 0.5 steal in 25 minutes
Stats 2021-22: 16.1 points, 3.8 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 0.8 steal in 30.7 minutes
# 6 Tyler Herro
The handsome kid is therefore participating in all the races this season. Number 1 in our ranking of the best sixth men in the League, TH just cannot be overlooked among potential MIPs. Same playing time as last season but other responsibilities, again due to the repeated absences that have plagued the Heat roster since the start of the season, but if we are talking about Herro in these lines it is above all … because the guy is a beast. Second best scorer of his team coming off the bench and already author of a few cards at incredible percentages, the Instagramer has become a man and gives us a start to the 2020 bubble-level season, consistency in addition and with two years of XP. in the satchel. In the end, Miami may have done well… not to trade him for James Harden.
2020-21 Stats: 15.1 points at 43.9% shooting including 36% from parking and 80.3% from throwing, 5 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 0.6 steal in 30.3 minutes
Stats 2021-22: 20.6 points at 44.4% shooting including 40.8% from parking and 86.3% from throwing, 5 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 0.6 steal in 32.1 minutes
# 5 Dejounte Murray
Warning, paragraph possibly written with little stars in the eyes. Quoted among the favorites for the trophy more or less … every year, Dejounte continues to improve but this season the progression looks like an explosion. Flavor, talent, beauty, versatility, clutchitude, kindness and sweetness, oops we escape. Leader in the classification of triple-doubles, leader of a franchise which amazes when he was promised hell, and therefore almost passed in two months from « disappointing crack » to border All-Star. The flow is titanic, the talent is proportional, the chills are there as soon as he puts on shorts, in short we are (I am) on the verge of being in love with the Spurs player franchise. Old good days.
2020-21 Stats: 15.7 points at 31.7% of parking, 7.1 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.5 steals and 0.1 against in 31.9 minutes
Stats 2021-22: 17.8 points at 34.1% of parking, 8.4 rebounds, 8.8 assists, 2 steals and 0.4 against in 34.2 minutes
# 4 Jordan Poole
Announced double count. Completely slammed at the start of his career, a little more confident after a few months, elusive in 2021 and now well established in Steve Kerr’s rotation, Jordan Poole is on the verge of making Klay Thompson forget, nah we’re kidding. More seriously ? The combo guard is a freak who was brought up at a good school and to see him pose 30 one in three evenings is not even original any more, holder on this start of the season and future (among) sixth luxury man of Warriors candidates for the title. True sniper, true arsonist, JP surfed at the start of the season on a dream preseason to confirm all the good that we took a long time to think about him, and well helped by the Warriors Spirit here we have now found a new darling to follow … after having gleefully laughed at his debut in the pros. Karma.
Stats 2020-21: 12 points at 43.2% shooting, 1.8 rebound, 1.9 assists, 0.5 steal and 0.2 against in 19.4 minutes
Stats 2021-22: 17.9 points at 44.2% shooting, 3.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1 steal and 0.2 against in 30.7 minutes
# 3 Desmond Bane
Push yourself forward, Desmond Bane has just landed in your lives. Another sophomore, we warned you, and it would almost be logical to say that this season Desmond has already become the… second best player of the Grizzlies. We were thinking yesterday between us and ourselves (well what?), Not sure we have seen a single bad game of DB this season, and if Ja Morant is the star bond of the franchise and the king highlights, Bane is the perfect lieutenant of the future All-Star on the back lines. An incredible arm, a body capable of going close to a finish, a foolproof composure and an obvious fit with a team more exciting than ever, and today the second-year player is now well established in the five of departure of Taylor Jenkins. A few more months of experience and John Wall will be able to bring out his eternal debate on the best backcourt in the League, and the duo Bane / Morant will have good arguments to make.
2020-21 Stats: 9.2 points, 3.1 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 0.6 steal and 0.2 against in 22.3 minutes
Stats 2021-22: 17.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1 steal and 0.4 against in 29.6 minutes
# 2 Miles Bridges
Fall in first place, fall in first place! Miles Bridges goes down a notch this month, stay put we talk about it right after, but fans of the Hornets rest assured it is not especially because of a drop in power. Passed by the COVID protocol box, the destroyer of human souls continues to have a bad night after night or almost, with less madness but at least as much consistency. The return to business of Terry Rozier has rebalanced the forces for the Hornets and Miles Bridges continues to feast on Option 2, with a LaMelo Ball in love and sharing of highlights, enough to make the franchise in Jojo a minimum satisfactory team. A circle-smashing machine at the start of his career and having become a player this season capable of everything in attack from his wing, Kilomètres Ponts is the perfect synonym of progress this season and already has a foot and a half on the final podium of our ranking.
2020-21 Stats: 12.7 points, 6 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 0.7 steal and 0.8 against in 29.3 minutes
Stats 2021-22: 19.7 points, 7.2 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.1 steal and 0.8 against in 36.2 minutes
# 1 Ja Morant
How could it be otherwise. Phrase a little pompous because all tastes are in nature but in any case, here, Ja Morant took place in first position of our ranking. Stopped by a sprained knee and then a COVID protocol and criticized by the smart guys who had pointed out that the Grizzlies were doing very well without him, Ja resumed work where he had left them and the result is … flamboyant . Two warm-ups against the Thunder and the Warriors, the handbrake released against the Kings then a game winner against the Suns to punctuate an evening with 33 pawns and a masterclass last night to spoil LeBron James’ birthday with 41 pawns and 10 rebounds. On these last two games? 9/12 from the parking lot, to top it off, and the Grizzlies who are now riding on the talent of their 22-year-old leader. In two words ? All, Star. In three letters? MIP.
2020-21 Stats: 19.1 points at 44.9% shooting including 30.3% from parking and 72.8% from throwing, 4 rebounds, 7.4 assists, 0.9 steal and 0.2 against in 32 , 6 minutes
Stats 2021-22: 24.5 points at 47.8% shooting including 38.3% from parking and 77.2% from throwing, 5.7 rebounds, 6.6 assists, 1.5 steal and 0.3 against in 32.4 minutes
Sources: basket reference and espn