We cover all you need to know about the NBA's Most Improved Player Award, including the latest odds, past winners, when the award is announced, and more.
Tyrese Maxey has made considerable improvements in each of his three full NBA seasons so far. With James Harden finally departing the Philadelphia 76ers, the keys to the offense are in Maxey's hands.
Maxey scored 20.3 points per game last season while shooting 43.4 percent from beyond the arc. Through 17 games in 2023/24, Maxey is averaging 26.6 points per game with a career-high 6.9 assists and a 40.3 three-point percentage.
There has been plenty of change in the Toronto Raptors organization in the 2023 offseason as they hired a new head coach and saw their best player, Fred VanVleet, leave. Someone needed to step up, and so far that has been 2021/22 Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes.
Through 18 games in the 2023/24 season, Barnes is averaging 18.9 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 5.6 assists, all of which are career highs. He's also shooting a career-high 38 percent from three.
A player who has become a favorite of NBA fanatics due to his steady improvement and ever-expanding skillset, Alperen Sengun of the Houston Rockets might finally put himself over the top and become a star this year. That's as good a reason as any for a player to be considered for Most Improved.
In 15 games this season, Sengun is averaging career highs in points (20.9) and assists (5.7) per game, in addition to pulling down 9.1 rebounds and shooting a career-high 56.3 percent from the field.
Cameron Thomas has been injured since early November, but in the eight games he has played this season, he has dropped point totals of: 36, 30, 33, 13, 17, 27, 45, and 14.
That's pretty good for a guy who averaged 10.6 points per game last season. If the Nets improve after he returns from his ankle injury, his odds may shrink.
Some fans may question if a former first-overall pick should be eligible for Most Improved Player given the expectations that come with the top selection, but Detroit Pistons guard Cade Cunningham has improved greatly since entering the league in 2021/22.
Cunningham played just 12 games last year before suffering a stress fracture in his shin. In 17 games this season, he is averaging 22.2 points and 7.1 assists with a 32.7 three-point percentage, all of which are career highs.
Odds displayed within this article were correct at the time of writing and are subject to change.
|2023||Lauri Markkanen||Utah Jazz|
|2022||Ja Morant||Memphis Grizzlies|
|2021||Julius Randle||New York Knicks|
|2020||Brandon Ingram||New Orleans Pelicans|
|2019||Pascal Siakam||Toronto Raptors|
|2018||Victor Oladipo||Indiana Pacers|
|2017||Giannis Antetokounmpo||Milwaukee Bucks|
|2016||CJ McCollum||Portland Trail Blazers|
|2015||Jimmy Butler||Chicago Bulls|
|2014||Goran Dragic||Phoenix Suns|
|2013||Paul George||Indiana Pacers|
|2012||Ryan Anderson||Orlando Magic|
|2011||Kevin Love||Minnesota Timberwolves|
|2010||Aaron Brooks||Houston Rockets|
|2009||Danny Granger||Indiana Pacers|
|2008||Hedo Turkoglu||Orlando Magic|
|2007||Monta Ellis||Golden State Warriors|
|2006||Boris Diaw||Phoenix Suns|
|2005||Bobby Simmons||Los Angeles Clippers|
|2004||Zach Randolph||Portland Trail Blazers|
|2003||Gilbert Arenas||Golden State Warriors|
|2002||Jermaine O'Neal||Indiana Pacers|
|2001||Tracy McGrady||Orlando Magic|
|2000||Jalen Rose||Indiana Pacers|
|1999||Darrell Armstrong||Orlando Magic|
|1998||Alan Henderson||Atlanta Hawks|
|1997||Isaac Austin||Miami Heat|
|1996||Gheorge Muresan||Washington Bullets|
|1995||Dana Barros||Philadelphia 76ers|
|1994||Don MacLean||Washington Bullets|
|1993||Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf||Denver Nuggets|
|1992||Pervis Ellison||Washington Bullets|
|1991||Scott Skiles||Orlando Magic|
|1990||Rony Seikaly||Miami Heat|
|1989||Kevin Johnson||Phoenix Suns|
|1988||Kevin Duckworth||Portland Trail Blazers|
|1987||Dale Ellis||Seattle SuperSonics|
|1986||Alvin Robertson||San Antonio Spurs|
Like most NBA Awards, the Most Improved Player Award is announced after the regular season ends and during the playoffs. The 2023 edition was announced on April 24.
The NBA Most Improved Player Award is voted on by a committee of 100 sportswriters and broadcasters. Voters have a first-place vote worth five points, a second-place vote worth three points, and a third-place vote worth one point. The player with the most points wins the award.
The George Mikan Trophy, awarded to the Most Improved Player, was established before the 2022/23 season. Mikan was a legendary center for the Minneapolis Lakers - before they moved to Los Angeles - and his name lives on through the Mikan Drill, which players use to improve their game.