In a sport as dynamic as basketball, where there are countless ways each player can impact a game, player development and skill cultivation can take on many divergent paths.
The NBA rewards those who have truly put in the work during the offseason, bestowing the Most Improved Player trophy upon, well... the player who has improved the most.
The preseason board for this award is often a marriage of skill and opportunity, and Minnesota Timberwolves' guard Anthony Edwards is the early leader to take home the honors.
Odds to win NBA Most Improved Player
|Player||Odds to win Most Improved|
Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook as of September 27, 2022.
Favorites to win NBA Most Improved Player
Anthony Edwards (+1,000)
His recent cameo in "Hustle" was no exaggeration — this kid can ball.
Anthony Edwards may have one of the highest ceilings of anyone in the NBA right now. He was a fringe All-Star last year for the up-and-coming Timberwolves, flashing a very rare scoring touch and the type of boundless athleticism that makes one think he can do pretty much anything.
Ant already strikes fear into the hearts of opposing defenders, and was Minnesota's best player in its first playoff appearance with this core. And, it bears noting: He just turned 21 in August.
With Rudy Gobert now fortifying the inside on defense and creating pull in the pick and roll on the other end, Edwards will be in arguably even better surroundings to complement what seems like a breakout season ahead for him.
Tyrese Haliburton (+1,200)
Tyrese Haliburton has a great profile to win MIP. He's an obviously talented youngster with a diverse skill set and great IQ, who was heavily handicapped by his surroundings in Sacramento — both in terms of his opportunity and the tire-fire organizational culture. Given a change of scenery in Indiana, he blossomed, raising his averages across the board to 17.5 points and 9.6 assists per game on a sublime .629 true shooting percentage.
Now, Indiana's in potential rebuild mode, and just about everyone except Haliburton (for whom they traded All-Star Domantas Sabonis just months ago) could be shipped out. Already gone is Malcolm Brogdon, the only obstacle between Tyrese and being this team's unquestioned initiator on offense.
This roster could look a lot different after trade season restarts in earnest on December 15, and a player who appeared on the cusp of blowing up late last season will have a full year in very stat-paddy surroundings to blossom. Don't underestimate the impact of a full season under offensive genius Rick Carlisle on Haliburton's game.
Jalen Brunson, Zion Williamson (+1,600)
Few players saw their status escalate as much last season as Jalen Brunson, who halfway through the year was still coming off Dallas' bench, and now has been handed over $100 million (granted, by the Knicks, but still).
Brunson proved himself a ruthless and efficient halfcourt scorer and more-than-capable playmaker for the Mavs, and will have even more opportunities to showcase his skills in the Mecca. The Knicks will be leaning heavily on their new acquisition after a season in which they were largely stuck in reverse.
Already a one-name player despite (somehow) being among the favorites for this award, Zion (Williamson) missed all of last season with a foot injury, and is very much at a career crossroads health-wise. When last healthy (2020-21), he drew All-NBA consideration and put up one of the most efficient scoring seasons in league history, so it's unclear how much higher his stock can go.
Understanding NBA Most Improved Player odds
Most sportsbooks will display odds in the American format as listed above. We'll use 2019-20's Rookie of the Year race as an example:
As the season progressed, with Ja Morant having been a huge favorite, his odds had a minus (-) sign ahead of the number:
- Ja Morant -500
This means that a bettor needs to wager $500 to win $100. Other candidates with worse odds would have a plus (+) sign ahead of the number. Early in the season, before any clear favorite is established, betting options will be listed as such:
- Zion Williamson +650
Here, a bettor stands to profit $650 for every $100 wagered.
If American odds aren't your thing, simply use our odds converter to switch the odds to decimal or fractional format. Most online sportsbooks also give you the option to change the odds format that you see.
NBA Most Improved Player history
|Year||NBA Most Improved Winner|
NBA Most Improved Player odds FAQ
Ja Morant of the Grizzlies won last year's MIP award. No player has ever won in consecutive seasons.
The Indiana Pacers and Orlando Magic have both had five players win MIP.
Generally no, but no true center has won since Jermaine O'Neal in 2002.