The most improved player award is all about who is making leaps in their game. Whether it is visible in the stats or not, there has been an abundance of players who vault themselves to the top of the league. Whether it is a surprise or not, the surges of these three players this season have so far been nothing short of incredible.
Above all of the leaps this season, the following three have taken their games to another, unexpected, level. While the debate for the most improved player award is not solely based on stats, these are the three players who have had the most impressive statistical improvements from the 2020-2021 season.
2020: 12.7 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 0.7 SPG
2021: 20.2 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 1.2 SPG
After reportedly declining a four-year $60 million extension from the Hornets, Bridges used his improvement to show the Hornets front office why they should not have low balled him. Bridges offensive improvement of 7.5 points per game along with added defensive contributions of 0.5 steals per game has been a key factor in the Hornets’ stellar improvement this season. The departure this offseason of Devonte Graham left a hole in the Hornets rotation and James Borrego will not regret filling the hole with more of Miles Bridges.
2020: 19.1 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 0.9 SPG
2021: 24.1 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 1.6 SPG
The Grizzlies have soared to the top of the western conference, and there is no one other to thank than Ja Morant. His increased points per game by 5 points has made a huge impact on the Grizzlies this season and has turned Ja’s third season into an incredibly successful one. The Grizzlies, who finished 9th last season, just missed the playoffs, and it seems as though it is Morant’s mission to never have that again. Additionally, Morant’s defensive impact has been crucial to the Grizzlies’ success.
2020: 21.6 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 25% 3PT
2021: 26.4 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 33% 3PT
The Bulls are one of the best teams in the NBA, and without DeMar DeRozan, this would have never happened. DeRozan’s improved ability to score the ball as well as shoot threes have not gone unnoticed, as the Bulls are second in the east with a 17-8 record. DeRozan’s Bulls are cruising and winning games more than ever before. DeRozan’s 4.8 increase in points per game has been crucial, but not the only reason the Bulls are close to the top. His increase of 8% from three has been another important piece of the Bulls’ success.