The NBA's Most Improved Player of the Year (MIPOY) Power Rankings has seen several changes with each passing edition. It is indeed an award that multiple contenders have chased this season, out of which quite a few players have a legitimate shot at winning it.
This week's edition sees Julius Randle reclaim the top spot because of his dominant displays since the April 13th edition of our MIPOY Power Rankings. Meanwhile, the biggest rise has been for Michael Porter Jr., who is back in the reckoning after his scintillating display post-Jamal Murray's season-ending injury.
NBA Most Improved Player of the Year Latest Power Rankings
Chris Boucher of the Toronto Raptors is the only player to miss out on a top-five spot in our power rankings this time around. His odds have declined massively for this individual award, and with the rest of the candidates making giant leaps, adding Boucher to these rankings would have been unfair.
Let's look at how each of the candidates have fared between now and our previous edition of the NBA's Most Improved Player of the Year Power Rankings.
#5 Michael Porter Jr.
Previous MIPOY Power Ranking: NA (-)
Stats last season: 9.3 PPG | RPG 4.7 | 0.8 APG
Stats this season: 17.6 PPG | 7.7 PRG | 1.0 APG
Michael Porter Jr. has continued his meteoric rise in his sophomore year in the NBA. The youngster has produced highly valuable contributions for a title-contending side like the Denver Nuggets. MPJ featured in four games since the last edition of our Power Rankings. During that stretch, he averaged 21 points and 6.7 rebounds per contest.
The Nuggets won all of those games and did so without Jamal Murray, who is now out for the rest of the season. For Porter, with the kind of performances he has been putting in following the All-Star break, it was only a matter of time before he made it to the top five contenders list.
He plays a minimum of 30 minutes in each game and has formed a solid partnership in the frontcourt with Nikola Jokic. Porter's contribution to the team's success without Murray is something that cannot be ignored, hence allowing him to break into the latest edition of our NBA Most Improved Player of the Year Power Rankings.
#4 Nikola Jokic
Previous MIPOY Power Ranking: 5 (↑1)
Stats last season: 19.9 PPG | 9.7 RPG | 7.0 APG
Stats this season: 26.4 PPG | 11 PRG | 8.7 APG
Nikola Jokic is not only having a career-best season, but he is also playing at an MVP level in the NBA so far. He is amongst the top three contenders for that category. However, his inclusion in the MVP conversation cannot rule out the extent to which Jokic has improved his game this season.
His high basketball IQ, work ethic, efforts on both ends of the floor, shooting, rebounding and playmaking have gone onto a new level. He is the perfect example of a modern-day big man who can do it all.
In the four games that he has played since the last edition of our NBA Most Improved Player of the Year Power Rankings, Jokic has averaged 29.5 points, 7.7 assists and 12.5 rebounds per contest. With these numbers, it wasn't difficult to assess why he deserves to gain a position from the last edition of the power rankings.
#3 Christian Wood
Previous MIPOY Power Ranking: 4 (↑1)
Stats last season: 13.1 PPG | 6.3 RPG | 1.0 APG
Stats this season: 20.9 PPG | 9.3 PRG | 1.5 APG
Christian Wood was leading the race to land the NBA's Most Improved Player of the Year award earlier in the season. But a long-term injury coupled with the Houston Rockets' downfall saw him fall out of contention.
Nonetheless, he is now back amongst the top three favorites in our Power Rankings and has been included in multiple editions in recent weeks. His performances of late have helped him gain a place in our latest Power Rankings for NBA Most Improved Player of the Year.
He has played five games since the last edition was published while averaging 19.8 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks per contest in that period. It took him a while to find his rhythm since returning from his injury layoff, but seems to have rediscovered his mojo now. It will be interesting to see if he can make a late charge to the top of these power rankings.
#2 Jerami Grant
Previous MIPOY Power Ranking: 1 (↓1)
Stats last season: 12.0 PPG | 3.5 RPG | 1.2 APG
Stats this season: 22.5 PPG | 4.6 PRG | 2.9 APG
Jerami Grant has been among the top two favorites to win the NBA's Most Improved Player of the Year award. The forward has made massive leaps, which is remarkable considering he is playing for a team that is going through a rebuild at the moment.
Not only did Grant improve his performances significantly, but he also accepted the role of a leader on the young team and has led them to multiple unexpected wins over tough oppositions. He cooled down in between, which hampered his odds and chances of winning the award. However, with the regular season just a few weeks away from concluding, he seems to have picked up steam.
In the three games that Grant has played since our last edition of the MIPOY Power Rankings, he averaged 22.6 points per contest. However, Julius Randle came up big last week, which saw Grant lose a position in this edition of the power rankings.
#1 Julius Randle
Previous MIPOY Power Ranking: 2 (↑1)
Stats last season: 19.5 PPG | 9.7 RPG | 3.1 APG
Stats this season: 23.9 PPG | 10.5 PRG | 6.1 APG
Julius Randle and the New York Knicks have been unplayable of late and have recorded an eight-game win-streak, their longest in seven seasons. Randle has been emphatic during the stretch, leading the Knicks to 4th in the Eastern Conference and bolstering their playoff qualification hopes.
Compared to the statistical improvements of other players, Randle hasn't had much of a leap. But the fact that he is leading the team's charge in qualifying for the post-season has played a huge role in him being a favorite to win the NBA MIPOY award this season. This has also led him to the top spot in our Power Rankings.
In the five games that he has played since the last edition of the NBA's Most Improved Player of the Year Power Rankings, he has averaged 33 points, seven assists, 8.8 rebounds and 1.8 steals per contest. He had two 40-point games and two 30-point games as well.
Randle has improved massively with his three-point shooting and defending this season. He has been shooting a career-best 41% from beyond the arc this campaign.