Top 5 Potential NBA MIP's for 2018-19
One of the most difficult individual awards to predict a winner for, in the NBA, is the MIP or Most Improved Player. The MVP is usually obvious. There is a select group of players who stay constantly competing for the MVP award every year.
The Most Improved Player can sometimes come out of nowhere. Victor Olapido won this award last year. After three years in Orlando and one with the OKC, Olapido broke out last season raising his scoring average nearly 8 points to 23 per game from 15. Olapido also improved his field goal efficiency by 5% at 47.7%. This season will be no different in trying to handicap who is deserving.
A few names stand out at this early stage of the season. As the season progresses, things may change. Caris LeVert, of the Brooklyn Nets, was given consideration but will not appear on this list as he has only played 14 games and is out indefinitely with a dislocated right foot.
However, he would have been a perfect fit for this list. He is averaging 18 points per game up 6 points from last season. He had improved his field goal percentage shooting at 47.5% and he has increased his minutes per at game 29.7 minutes per night. If LeVert makes it back to the Nets roster soon, he could find himself in the conversation for this award.
Other players considered were Domantas Sabonis who has increased his points per game at 14 and field goal percentage by 11 points to 62%. Tim Hardaway Jr. who is scoring 21 points per game up 3.5 points from last year, but, his overall field goal percentage is low at 39.5%. As of right now, the potential candidates this year for the Most Improved Player Award include JaVale MaGee, Josh Richardson, Zack Lavine, Julius Randle, and Pascal Siakam.
#5 JaVale McGee
McGee may seem like an odd choice as a candidate for this award. The starting center for the Los Angeles Lakers is averaging 11.8 points a game and 6.7 rebounds. McGee is also shooting a high 62.6% from the field in 23 minutes per game. McGee is also averaging 2.6 blocks per game as well.
At 31 years old, McGee was a member of the last two Golden State Warrior championship teams where he was a role player. He makes this potential list on the strength of the fact that for the past 6 seasons he has been relegated to the bench for Denver, Philadelphia, Dallas and even Golden State.
In those 6 seasons, McGee was averaging less than 20 minutes per game and as little as 9.5 in Golden State last season. However, McGee played a big role in Golden State’s championship series win over Cleveland, in June, and was rewarded as a free agent with a contract to play with the Los Angeles Lakers.
McGee's career seemed not only in decline but nearly over until recently. His scoring average is 7 points higher than last season in the 29 games he has played this year. It seemed just to include him in this category.