Each year, the NBA distributes a number of statues fiercely contested by the headliners of the big league. In this article, we are going to look at the one that rewards the player who made the biggest progress of the season, the MIP: Most Improved Player.
What can we say about the trophy?
The NBA is a league that has built its success on storytelling. Also, when it comes to handing over their trophies, they are often caught between their desire to take the winner with the most convincing history, and that of surrounding the delivery of statues of unspoken rules. As for MIP, the goal is clear: to reward the player who has made the most impressive progress in the eyes of the NBA. This usually comes from a player’s net progression, or a change from a fully assumed role. Both are often linked.
However, the main unofficial rule for this race is that a second-year player is not expected to be eligible. Why? Because most players will make a progression between their adaptation to the NBA level and rhythm and the change of role which is accompanied by a transition from rookie to sophomore status. Also, if it is not impossible to see a second-year player get this title, let’s say that in general the race is supposed to start from the third season. Here too, it all depends on the script ultimately: the NBA will not be deprived of a “feel-good story”, if the door is wide open.
In practice, however, if we take the last 10 seasons, no sophomore has been rewarded. The earliest won it in their 3rd season: Kevin Love, Paul George, CJ McCollum and Pascal Siakam. While the most awaited were Victor Oladipo (5 seasons) and Goran Dragic (6 seasons). The picture is therefore set: it is time to move on to the 2019-2020 season.
The MIP 2019/2020 favorites
For the next season, the list of potential contenders is long. With all the workforce changes taking place during the summer, there are many opportunities open to the younger generation. Also, we found a number of contenders who could, after several seasons, for changes in team, role, or status, experience a statistical explosion. The difficulty of this trophy is to assess the current level and the player’s accepted ceiling, to make a list of a few players who could explode. Here are our 3 favorites for the 2019-2020 season.
Bam Adebayo – Miami Heat
Last season, he was in the shadow of Hassan Whiteside, with 8.9 points and 7.3 rebounds in average and only 28 games started. But the pivot left for Portland and Bam Adebayo became an indisputable holder of the Heat, with 16.2 points and 10.5 points on average. He even had the first three triple-doubles of his career against Atlanta, Dallas and Orlando. Alongside Jimmy Butler, the 22-year-old pivot can take Miami very high. Currently, according to the betting odds on the NBA 2020, the Miami Heat are among the four favorite teams to win the Eastern Conference.
Brandon Ingram – New-Orleans Pelicans
The ex-Lakers will land with the Pelicans in a very young team, in which he will be among the experienced. Promised for a great future, especially offensively, upon his arrival in the NBA, Brandon Ingram is still struggling to convince of his impact on the game. The advantage for him is that this season could be very different. Rid of the pressure of the Lakers, the circus of his first seasons or the weight of evolving alongside LeBron James, the winger will get various opportunities. First, he will play with one of the best staff in the league. Between Alvin Gentry, Chris Finch and Jeff Bzdelik, the coaching staff has the weapons to highlight it. Especially since the Pelicans shouldn’t change registers: fast play. In this context, Ingram could see its volume of fire increase, all in a more serene whole. What have an interesting profile for this trophy? A little yes.
Jayson Tatum – Boston Celtics
With a first season of quality and high-flying Playoffs, Jayson Tatum was already announced as the future star of the Celtics. Despite a statistical progression, his sophomore season was much less striking than the immense expectations placed in Tatum suggested. A tendency to force shots into a team whose chemistry was lost got the better of the fans disappointed by the strong winger. However, if the workforce seems less dense and talented, the Celtics remain one of the big teams in the East of which he will be one of the centerpieces. Irving replaced by Kemba Walker – Horford, Morris and Rozier gone, Boston will have fewer attacking weapons and more room for the 3rd year player who will be keen to demonstrate his progress. The latter should have a larger volume of fire: now remains to work on his selection and hope that the summer will have been beneficial to him … And take advantage of weaker statistics than the other favorites.