Mar 09, 2022
Ja Morant Most Improved Player Favorite
The overwhelming favorite to be named the NBA’s Most Improved Player this season is Ja Morant. The No. 2 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft has improved by leaps and bounds this season, and he has Memphis on the cusp of being one of the top three seeds in the Western Conference Playoffs. It seems like nothing will stop Morant from winning the award at this point, as he has taken his game to the next level in his third season.
2022 NBA Most Improved Player Betting Odds
- Ja Morant (Memphis) -1400
- Miles Bridges (Charlotte) +1000
- Darius Garland (Cleveland) +1300
- Dejounte Murray (San Antonio) +1600
- Anfernee Simons (Portland) +3500
- All Other Players +7000 or More
Odds Provided by DraftKings - Subject to Change
We have seen the criteria for Most Improved Player change over the course of the last decade. For the first 25 years of this award, voters largely gave it to a player that had come out of nowhere to have a solid season. We didn’t see All-Stars win this award, and an All-Star wasn’t named the NBA’s Most Improved Player until the 2010-11 season.
However, 10 of the last 11 NBA Most Improved Player Award winners have made the All-Star Team that same season. Ryan Anderson is the only outlier in that group, and we have seen future stars like Paul George, Jimmy Butler, and reigning NBA Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo earn the honor. That likely eliminates everyone but Ja Morant, Darius Garland, and Dejounte Murray from this race.
Morant has clearly been the best of the trio, and not even an injury could likely stop him from winning this award with just 15 games left in the regular season at this point. Memphis is currently ahead of Golden State for the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference, and Morant’s play has been instrumental to the team’s success.
Interestingly, perhaps the only thing that could stop Morant from winning NBA Most Improved Player is if he takes his game to an even higher level over the last few weeks of the regular season. Morant is a serious MVP candidate, and the more MVP buzz he gets, the more that some voters might think to move him off their Most Improved Player lists. They might think he is too good to be win the award, potentially benefiting Garland and Murray.