The 2019-2020 season has gifted us with one of the most exciting Most Improved Player Award race in years, and the players with the best chance of winning all have very unique situations. Three of the frontrunners were former first-round draft picks that blossomed into All-Stars this year, and another tripled his numbers as a sophomore following an underwhelming rookie season as an early second-round pick. We broke down what the odds look like on DraftKings Sportsbook here:
Who will win Most Improved Player?
New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram (+140) is the top dog right now, and it looks like being traded by the Los Angeles Lakers of the offseason was a blessing in disguise. The former No. 2 overall pick is averaging career highs in points (24.5), rebounds (6.3), and assists (4.3) per game while shooting an impressive 40.2% from beyond the arc. Some began to question whether the lanky wing could live up to his potential, but he became an All-Star alongside a plethora of other young talent and is putting on a show in a contract year.
Bam Adebayo (+350) wasn’t moved by the Miami Heat, but a trade was also the key to him shining in his third NBA season. Miami sent Hassan Whiteside to the Portland Trail Blazers at the beginning of the year, which made room for Adebayo to snatch the bulk of the minutes at center. Adebayo was able to show that he’s one of the most skilled big men in the game because of that and is averaging 16 points, 10.4 rebounds, and five assists per contest. He won the skills competition at All-Star Weekend this year and is a critical piece of a Heat team that could very well win the Eastern Conference.
Dallas Mavericks G/F Luka Doncic (+400) went from fringe All-Star and Rookie of the Year in 2018-19 to All-Star starter and MVP candidate in 2019-20. He’s nearly averaging a triple-double in his sophomore season, and it’s surprising he doesn’t have better odds considering the major jump he made. Dallas was second to last in the Western Conference last year, and now it’s contending for a playoff spot. Most of that success is owed to Doncic.
Another name worth mentioning is Charlotte Hornets guard Devonte’ Graham. Graham averaged a mere 4.7 points per game as a rookie, but Kemba Walker’s departure allowed him to move into the starting lineup this season and average 17.6 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. Graham basically tripled his production in terms of points, rebounds, and assists from 2018-19. While the change in his numbers is most dramatic, there’s a knock against him. He only played in 46 games last season and averaged 14.7 minutes per appearance. This season, he’s logging 35 minutes a night. All of the players above have a shot at winning. It’s just a matter of who performs at the highest level the rest of the way.
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