The 2020-21 NBA season is underway and there are plenty of young players poised to make big jumps as pros. The race for Most Improved Player is wide open and we’ve identified a pair of candidates on DraftKings Sportsbook who are on the rise and another who are off to slow starts.
The Denver Nuggets’ Michel Porter Jr. is the frontrunner at +800 but I’ve elected to leave him out alongside others who are essentially second-year players.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City Thunder (+1200)
SGA didn’t disappoint after running the thunder for the first time this season. He stuffed the stat sheet by tallying 24 points, 7 rebounds, 9 assists in 34 minutes. He was the driving force behind Oklahoma City’s win over the Charlotte Hornets and could be a nightly triple-double threat. I think emerging as his team’s top option in year three gives him an edge over the rest of the field.
Christian Wood, Houston Rockets (+800)
Wood is finally getting a chance to show what he can do as a full-time starter in year five. He tallied 31 points and 13 rebounds in 44 minutes for the undermanned Rockets in their season opener and could become Houston’s second-best player after spending the majority of his career coming off the bench. His stock will only rise if James Harden gets traded.
Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns (+3300)
The bubble Suns and the acquisition of Chris Paul got people excited for Book and he hasn’t taken a step back this season. He’s scored more than 24 points per game over the last three seasons and would have to take a major leap to enter the conversation. I can’t see him eclipsing 30 points per game with CP3 and DeAndre Ayton in the mix. Phoenix is good and everyone knows how good Devin Booker can be at his best.
Jamal Murray, Denver Nuggets (+1200)
Murray is having a tough time bouncing back after playing spectacularly in last year’s playoffs. Nikola Jokic is averaging a triple-double while Murray has struggled to score efficiently and make plays for others. It’s still early but seems unlikely that Murray can match last year’s postseason performance. He has to be an All-Star this year to win MIP.
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