2021-22 NBA Most Improved Player Picks, Predictions, Odds and Best BetsSep 14, 2021 at 5:51AM
Betting for the 2021-22 NBA Most Improved Player of the Year has begun, with Pointsbet Sportsbook setting Michael Porter Jr. and Kevin Porter Jr. as the equal favorites at +1400.
Other big names that feature near the top of the odds include Collin Sexton, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Zion Williamson.
NBA Most Improved Odds
Michael Porter Jr. +1400
Kevin Porter Jr. +1400
Collin Sexton +1600
Jaren Jackson Jr. +1600
Derrick White +1600
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander +2000
Zion Williamson +2000
John Collins +2000
De'Aaron Fox +2000
Now, let's get into our expert MIP picks and predictions for the 2021-22 NBA season ⬇️
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NBA Most Improved Player
NBA MIP Best Picks
There may be some recency bias here with this one, but looking back to last year's winner, Julius Randle, and it appears as though Zion's path to MIP is clear.
The former No. 1 pick is more established than what Randle was, with his status as a superstar of the league not up for debate. The fact is, though, that the Pelicans are underachieving and need a postseason berth soon to stand any chance of keeping Zion long term. After losing some important players during the offseason, such as JJ Redick and Lonzo Ball, there will be more pressure than ever on the product out of Duke to put the Pels on his back. If New Orleans snatch a spot in the playoffs, it will be because of a huge improvement by Zion where he goes from a top 20 player in the league to a top 10.
Derrick White is primed and ready to take the leap this season and I'm here to tell you why.
First off, increased opportunities. DeMar DeRozan has left the Spurs to sign with the Bulls, meaning that White is locked and loaded to be the starting shooting guard where he will line up alongside Dejounte Murray in the backcourt.
Next up it's his coach, Gregg Popovich. Although Pop has never coached a player to the Most Improved award, he has continually got the most out of his players, both as a team and more importantly for us, individually. Tony Parker was pick 28, Manu Ginobilli pick 57, even the 2014 Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard was pick 15.
With Derrick White coming into his fifth NBA season after being taken with pick 29, he's set to go to another level as he looked set to last season when he upped his points per game from 11 to 15 despite playing just 36 games due to injury.
NBA MIP Value Picks
Tyrese Haliburton surprised many last season with his maturity as a rookie with the Sacramento Kings. Had it not been for LaMelo Ball, Haliburton may very well be the ROTY. The second year man has a chance to go up another level this year and could be given even more responsibility in the rotation.
Check out OG Anunoby's points per game averages each season he's had in the NBA: 5.9, 7.0, 10.6, 15.9. Yep, there's a pretty clear trend happening there.
After winning the championship in 2019 (with big thanks to Kawhi of course) the Raptors haven't remotely looked like repeating that effort, and now that they've also lost Kyle Lowry, it's time for a few guys to step up, with OG, Fred van Vleet and Pascal Siakam the dudes they're gonna look to.
OG has steadily improved each season he's been in the NBA, and now with the pressure of number 4 draft pick, Scottie Barnes, fighting for a starting spot, he will need to make yet another jump.
With that in mind, the value for OG to become the second Raptor in four years to win the award is simply too good to pass up on.
NBA MIP Sleepers
Don't laugh - this is a dark horse pick after all - but is it completely unfathomable that Kyle Kuzma is actually good? This will be Kuzma's fifth pro season, and his first season since his rookie year where he won't be playing with LeBron James.
Prior to the arrival of the King in LA, the man who was drafted out of Utah was the most exciting out of the young Lakers core that feature Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram - so much so that when James did land in LA and was looking to bolster the squad with the acquisition of Anthony Davis from New Orleans, Los Angeles refused to include Kuzma in any package to seal the AD deal.
So, now that the power forward is back on his own, with Bradley Beal - who could be gone by the trade deadline - could we see a return to the big numbers of Kuzma's rookie season? In that 2017/18 year, the Michigan native averaged 16.1 points to go along with a career best 3-point mark of 36% and 6.3 rebounds per game. An increase on all of those numbers and a playoff berth for Washington and this doesn't seem so crazy.
Continuing the theme of forwards that play for the Wizards, my sleeper pick for the 2021-22 Most Improved Player award is Rui Hachimura.
Hachimura's stats have stayed pretty consistent across his first two seasons in the league, with the most improvement coming in the form of his shooting percentages.
But now, with Russell Westbrook off the team, Rui will need to step up, and in a big way, as he looks to become the main support for Bradley Beal. And we actually have proof that Rui can lead a team.
At the Tokyo Olympics, Rui averaged 22.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game, with the highlight coming of his tournament being the 34-7-3 he had when going up against Luka Doncic, showing he can match it with the best.
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