The Most Improved Player of the Year award picture is getting clearer with each passing edition of our NBA power rankings. Julius Randle's emphatic performances have now allowed him to go miles clear of the other contenders, making him the outright favorite to win the award this year.
With 10 wins in 11 outings, the New York Knicks find themselves seeded fourth in the NBA's Eastern Conference, who seem to be in a comfortable position to qualify for the playoffs this season. Julius Randle has played a huge role in this run, and with multiple aspects of his game improving, it has allowed him to be the odds-on favorite as well.
NBA Most Improved Player of the Year Latest Power Rankings
Julius Randle and Jerami Grant have managed to hold on to their spots from our previous edition of the NBA Most Improved Player of the Year Power Rankings. Meanwhile, Christian Wood, Nikola Jokic and Michael Porter Jr. have all managed to stay in the top five this time.
Porter's massive performances over the last week have seen him gain quite a few places, which has given a new look to the bottom half of our current edition of the NBA MIPOY power rankings.
On that note, let's take a look at how Porter and the rest of the players have performed in the last week, which has helped them hold on to a spot this time around.
#5 Nikola Jokic
Previous MIPOY Power Ranking: 4 (↓1)
Stats last season: 19.9 PPG | 9.7 RPG | 7.0 APG
Stats this season: 26.3 PPG | 10.9 PRG | 8.7 APG
Nikola Jokic has continued to flourish this NBA season and has managed to give the Denver Nuggets a clear advantage to earn home-court advantage in the post-season. He played in all five games the Nuggets were scheduled to play since the last edition of our NBA Most Improved Player of the Year Power Ranking. During that stretch, Jokic averaged 23.6 points, 9.4 rebounds and 6.6 assists per contest during that stretch.
It's one thing to show improvement, but another to keep performing consistently at a high level, which is exactly what the Serbian big-man has done this NBA season. Jokic was expected to perform at a high level before the campaign started.
Still, he has bettered expectations to a great extent, which played a key role in him being a top-five contender for the MIPOY, along with the MVP award as well.
#4 Christian Wood
Previous MIPOY Power Ranking: 3 (↓1)
Stats last season: 13.1 PPG | 6.3 RPG | 1.0 APG
Stats this season: 21.3 PPG | 9.7 PRG | 1.7 APG
Christian Wood was the favorite to win the NBA Most Improved Player of the Year award at one stage. However, a long-term injury hampered his chances massively, subsequently seeing him drop out of contention.
Nevertheless, Wood has rediscovered his mojo in recent weeks, which sees him in the top five for yet another edition of our MIPOY Power Rankings.
Wood has featured in three games since our last edition, averaging 26.3 points and 15.4 rebounds per contest during that stretch. It was his best three-game span performance of the season, which played a huge role in him staying a top-five contender for the MIPOY award.
But the Houston Rockets have continued to disappoint as a unit, which has affected Wood's chances of winning the award. It has also seen him drop down to fourth in our latest edition of the NBA Most Improved Player of the Year Power Rankings.
#3 Michael Porter Jr.
Previous MIPOY Power Ranking: 5 (↑2)
Stats last season: 9.3 PPG | RPG 4.7 | 0.8 APG
Stats this season: 18.7 PPG | 7.6 PRG | 1.0 APG
Despite being in his true sophomore season in the NBA, Michael Porter Jr. has been mentioned quite frequently in all discussions surrounding the NBA's Most Improved Player of the Year.
Players are expected to take a leap in their second year. But MPJ has had a monstrous one, especially post the NBA All-Star break, which is a major reason for him being a top-five contender for this award.
Porter has been key in making the Denver Nuggets appear as title contenders this season and has delivered massively in the absence of Jamal Murray. His shooting has left players, critics, and fans in awe of him as he continues to improve with each passing game.
Since the last edition of our NBA Most Improved Player of the Year Power Rankings, he has played five games, averaging 29.4 points and 6.6 rebounds per contest. Porter has been shooting almost 54% from the field, making a minimum of 4.8 threes per game during that stretch. He even had a career-high night during that run, when he scored 39 points against Houston on the 24th of April.
#2 Jerami Grant
Previous MIPOY Power Ranking: 2 (-)
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 managed to stay in the top two of our NBA Most Improved Player of the Year Power Rankings yet again. His mid-season odds and performances helped him become the favorite to win the award at one stage. But the rise of Randle and the Knicks, coupled with Grant's minor slump and injury niggles, eventually saw him slip.
Grant played two of the four games the Pistons were scheduled to play last week, missing the other two with injury management precautions. He fared well in both those games, scoring 21.2 points per contest. Grant played a key role in the team's 100-86 victory over the Hawks, scoring 18 points in that game.
#1 Julius Randle
Previous MIPOY Power Ranking: 1 (-)
Stats last season: 19.5 PPG | 9.7 RPG | 3.1 APG
Stats this season: 24.1 PPG | 10.4 PRG | 5.9 APG
Julius Randle is looking untouchable at the moment and is the clear favorite to win the NBA Most Improved Player of the Year award. Randle has been highly impressive and has managed to enter the MVP discussion of late as well. Much has to do with him leading the Knicks towards a playoff berth for the first time since the 2013-14 season.
Randle has improved in each statistical category in the NBA and has developed his game on both ends of the floor. His three-point shooting has especially improved a lot. Randle's previous best was 34.4% in the 2018-19 NBA campaign, which is way less than the 42.1% he is averaging this season, attempting a career-best 5.3 shots from long-range.
He played three games last week, averaging 27.6 points and 7.6 rebounds per contest. He shot 59.3% from the three-point line during that stretch.