5 Early Contenders for the Most Improved Player Award
Many players have gotten off to a hot start, this article analyzes the top 5.
For the last few years, the race for Most Improved Player Award (MIP) has been predominantly a one-horse race, with a clear-cut player elevating themselves into the star status. Giannis Antetokounmpo is the best example of the unanimity that has been present in the recent MIP award races, with the Greek Freak leading the Bucks in every major statistical category during the 2016-2017 season.
This season, however, with a strong start for many teams that had low expectations, emerged multiple players worthy of consideration for MIP. While there are many players that have been playing above expectations, this article will consider the 5 most unexpectedly in-form players through the first month of the season.
However, before we dive into the list I have to give props to some honorable mentions who have elevated their game this season including Tobias Harris, TJ Warren, and Dennis Schroder.
#5 Victor Oladipo - Indiana Pacers
Before the start of the 2017-2018, not only was Oladipo traded, it was commonly thought that he was involved in one of the more lopsided trades in recent seasons. It is hard for any team to recoup fair value for a player of Paul George's caliber. Oladipo's value at the start of the 2017-2018 season was at an all-time low after four seasons in the NBA and not much to show for it.
However, his starting low value ultimately helps his case for MIP as no one among Pacers fans or basketballs experts predicted his offensive explosion to start the season off. Through 14 games, Oladipo is averaging 23.4 ppg, 4.3 rebounds and 3.6 assets shooting solid 48 percent from the field and an amazing 44 percent from three.
His increase in almost every statistical category begs the question, why he isn't first on this list? Oladipo at number 5 is not a dig at him, but rather a reflection of the thick competition for the award this year. While his numbers are impeccable there are other players who have improved their statistics equally while guiding their teams to more wins. It is only early, however, expect Oladipo to continue to thrive in his new role on the Indiana Pacers.