The Most Improved Player (MIP) Award is usually given to the player who has greatly improved from the previous season, as voted upon by a panel of analysts and media members. Last year, Pascal Siakam of the Toronto Raptors ended up taking the award after improving in nearly every single major stat category. This ladder updates monthly, but with the suspension of the season, there’s been a lack of NBA action as of late. With that being said, here’s the 3rd edition.
With that being said, let’s get into the list.
1. Brandon Ingram, New Orleans Pelicans
2018-19 Stats: 18.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.6 blocks
2019-20 Stats: 24.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.7 blocks
My pick for Most Improved Player so far remains to be the Pelicans all-star, Brandon Ingram. Playing behind LeBron last season, Ingram had very little opportunity to show of his talents. This season, and most especially prior to Zion’s return, Ingram has proven himself as a capable number one option. He had a career-night against the Utah Jazz earlier this season, scoring a career-high 49 points, along with 8 rebounds and 6 assists. More than just a great scorer, Ingram has proven himself as also a willing playmaker and a capable defender.
2. Jayson Tatum
2018-19 Stats: 15.7 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.1 steals, 0.7 blocks
2019-20 Stats: 23.6 points, 7.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.4 steals, 0.9 blocks
How could I leave him from this list? The Celtics all-star improved tremendously following his sophomore slump last season. He had an impressive playoff run as a rookie, but high expectations were placed on the Duke product to continue that kind of success. He’s definitely blossomed into his own this season, cementing himself as the Celtics’ best player ahead of Kemba Walker and Jaylen Brown.
After a scorching-hot month of February where he averaged 30.7 points per game on 48.1% from three, Tatum definitely catapulted into star territory. His defense has vastly improved, and has proven his consistency as a leader. Tatum should be in contention for this award, despite my prior lack of recognition.
3. Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat
2018-19 Stats: 8.9 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.3 blocks
2019-20 Stats: 16.2 points, 10.5 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 1.3 steals, 1.2 blocks
Another first time all-star, Adebayo has also made a tremendous jump from last season. His defense has always been his calling card, but he’s improved on his offense this season, becoming one of the best playmaking bigs in the league. The 2020 Skills Challenge winner has already shown further flashes of potential in developing his already capable scoring ability, with shooting remaining as his only concern. He’s been great at all other ends of the court, and it will be nice to see his progression in the future.
4. Devonte’ Graham, Charlotte Hornets
2018-19 Stats: 4.7 points, 1.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.0 blocks
2019-20 Stats: 18.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, 7.5 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.2 blocks
Graham is the only sophomore on the list, but his improvement this season has been insane. With the loss of all-star Kemba Walker, many thought that the Hornets would not do good this season, but that hasn’t been the case. Graham has been phenomenal as the first option on this Hornets team, making the most of the increased minutes he’s received this season. He’s lights out from deep, and is a great playmaker as well. Graham surely has a bright future in this league.
5. Domantas Sabonis, Indiana Pacers
2018-19 Stats: 14.1 points, 9.3 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.4 blocks
2019-20 Stats: 18.5 points, 12.4 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.5 blocks
Last but not the least, rounding out the top 5 is another first time all-star in Domantas Sabonis. Sabonis has been great for the injury-riddled Pacers this season, improving his overall game from last season. He was commendable last year following an impressive Sixth Man of the Year campaign, but has truly stepped it up as a scorer and playmaker this season. His passing has been incredible for a big, and while his defense is still average, he’s exceeded expectations on that end as well.
6. Fred VanVleet, Toronto Raptors
7. Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors
8. Andrew Wiggins, Golden State Warriors
9. Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics
10. Luka Dončić, Dallas Mavericks
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Thunder), Trae Young (Hawks), Kelly Oubre Jr. (Suns), Zach Lavine (Bulls), Malcolm Brogdon (Pacers)
Thanks for reading! Make sure to follow us @UniqueSportplus on Twitter and tune in for weekly updates! Who do you think will win MIP? Let us know by tweeting at us.