The Most Improved Player award is always the most subjective. It’s intended to signify a player who took a major leap forward from last season to this one, but it usually becomes a team success award. Here’s a look at the top contenders for MIP in the 2021-22 season after the All-Star break, with odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.
Most Improved Player 2021-22 odds after All-Star break
The favorite: Ja Morant (-550)
Like I said, this award becomes a team success thing eventually. Morant’s numbers have improved across the board and the Grizzlies are absolutely flying in the West, which sets him up beautifully to win this award. It’s hard to see anyone else coming on at the end of the season to challenge him.
Miles Bridges, Hornets: +700
Bridges has finally asserted himself as a complete NBA player after being labeled as a “dunker” early in his career. Charlotte is on the cusp of the playoffs, though, which doesn’t do much for the forward’s chances at this honor. Bridges is averaging 20.0 points and 7.2 rebounds per game.
Darius Garland, Cavaliers: +1200
Garland has made the leap and the Cavaliers were an even bigger surprise than the Grizzlies, so this is a potential value bet at 12/1. The Cleveland guard was also named an All-Star, which does sway some voters. He’s averaging 20.3 points and 8.0 assists per game.
Dejounte Murray, Spurs: +1600
Murray was an All-Star replacement and has been the engine for San Antonio on both sides of the floor, but the Spurs are struggling to make the play-in tournament. Even as the guard ascends to stardom, it’s hard to see him as a worthy contender for this award.
Best bet: Darius Garland (+1200)
Even with his back injury, there’s a chance Garland finishes the season hot. He’s got the team success like Morant and his production is impressive as well. Voters might feel he made the more unexpected jump, as Morant was already dubbed a star after last year’s play-in tournament. If the narrative can shift towards Garland, he’s a great play at 12/1.
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