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.
Christian Wood, Houston Rockets (+250)
The last time we accessed who was gaining ground in the race for MIP Wood was +800. He’s now the favorite at +250 and is looking like he could blossom into an All-Star after spending most of his fifth NBA season as a backup. Wood is averaging 23.8 points and 10.8 rebounds per game and is also protecting the rim with 2.2 blocks per contest. It’ll be hard to stop him from winning if he keeps this up.
Collin Sexton, Cleveland Cavaliers (+1800)
Sexton is looking like Cleveland’s best player in year three. The combo guard has led the Cavs to a 4-2 record and has shown significant improvement in several areas. Sexton has been extremely efficient and is averaging 26 points per game while shooting 55.6 percent from the field and 55 percent from deep. He’s also shooting just over 80 percent from the charity stripe. I’m not saying these shooting splits are sustainable, but you have to take notice of a third-year player catapulting himself into the 50-40-90 conversation.
Tyler Herro, Miami Heat (+5000)
I’m not a fan of considering second-year players as MIP candidates in most cases and the expectations for Herro were set too high after Miami’s latest championship run. Herro is averaging a team-high 33.2 minutes per game but his numbers are eerily similar to those of his rookie campaign. Herro will need to adjust to playing as more of a point guard but his improvement doesn’t come close to matching the frontrunners. Herro’s odds were once under +2000 in most sportsbooks and it’ll take a lot for him to get back there.
Lonzo Ball, New Orleans Pelicans (+8000)
Many thought Ball would take a big step forward with Jrue Holiday out of the picture but there are other things stopping him from truly running the Pelicans offense. Last year’s MIP Brandon Ingram has evolved and a playmaker and is averaging a team-high 5.3 assists per game. He’s also averaging more than 10 shots per game, like the ball-dominant Eric Bledsoe and Zion Williamson, who is also in the running for MIP. If pall isn’t at least the top assist man on a team without another true point guard I can’t see him taking home the hardware.
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