Whenever there’s a conversation surrounding NBA awards, one that often gets overlooked is the Most Improved Player winner. However, it’s important to understand these players are often ones who rise to stardom. Recent winners include Jimmy Butler, Giannis Antetokounmpo, CJ McCollum, Pascal Siakam and reigning winner Ja Morant. Here’s a look at some of the contenders for the award this year, with odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.
Most Improved Player 2022-23 odds
The favorite: Anthony Edwards and Tyrese Maxey (+1100)
Edwards and Maxey are both going to be on playoff teams, which helps their cause. The Timberwolves forward will likely be more involved in his team’s offense, which makes him a slight favorite even if the odds are the same. Maxey might not get as much usage with James Harden and Joel Embiid on the floor.
Tyrese Haliburton and Zion Williamson: +1400
Williamson really shouldn’t be in consideration for this award given his production. Haliburton is going to run the show in Indiana, but it’s hard to tell if the surrounding players will do enough to help him when it comes to efficiency. The Pacers point guard is definitely a contender if he stays healthy.
Anfernee Simons and Cade Cunningham: +2000
Both these players had strong finishes to last season, which sets them up for big things in 2022-23. Simons might see his playing time go down with Damian Lillard’s return and the Trail Blazers drafting Shaedon Sharpe. The Pistons will go as Cunningham does, and he looks primed to break out. He’s definitely the best value play at the top of the board here.
Jalen Brunson: +2200
Brunson changed teams in the offseason, going from the Mavericks to the Knicks. He got a massive contract as well, and now he’ll have to prove he’s worth the price. The Knicks have a lot of scorers, so we’ll see how involved Brunson is in that specific aspect of the offense. It’s likely he becomes more of a distributor.
Best bet: Cade Cunningham (+2000)
In Cunningham’s last 23 games, he averaged 20.3 points, 6.1 assists and 5.7 rebounds per game. He was averaging 15.8 points, 5.5 assists and 5.2 rebounds per game prior to that stretch. The trajectory suggests Cunningham’s efficiency will continue to improve, and Detroit’s roster around him has also gotten better. The Pistons are unlikely to make the playoffs but that’s the only downside to backing Cunningham to win this honor.
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