Top Contenders for the NBA Most Improved Player of the Year (2020-21) With Early Betting Odds
One of the most exciting individual awards in the NBA is the Most Improved Player of the Year. You never know who’s going to win it and we’ve seen plenty of surprising candidates make huge strides in their career to earn the honor.
The Most Improved Player of the Year odds for the upcoming 2020-21 season are now available and the betting sites don’t have a clear favorite which is to be expected.
The prices for all athletes are high and that opens the door to some interesting betting opportunities I explore in this post.
Let’s start by checking the early odds.
As you can see for yourself, the prices are excellent and I’ve included only the top 20 players according to the Most Improved Player of the Year 2021 odds. Most betting sites include more athletes, so you can pick between many options.
And yet, certain players deserve more attention than others. Here are my picks for the most likely winners of the award.
Michael Porter Jr.
When the Denver Nuggets drafted Michael Porter Jr. in the NBA Draft 2017, they knew they were taking a risk. The player’s talent was undoubted, but there were plenty of question marks surrounding his health.
Porter Jr. had serious problems with his back and many NBA organizations decided to pass on him. A couple of years later, that looks like a huge mistake.
The small forward was fit last year and we saw glimpses of his potential. MJP was a beast for the Nuggets and his offensive ceiling is on another level, as you can see from this compilation.
The guy can shoot, he can drive, and he works well off the ball too. With Jeramy Grant gone, there will be even more minutes for Michael Porter Jr. on the floor.
He has all the attributes to join Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic as part of a scary offensive trio that could dominate the West for years to come.
I believe that Michael Porter Jr. is certainly among the athletes who could increase their production dramatically in the upcoming season and that makes him one of my favorites for the Most Improved Player of the Year award in 2020-21.
Many think that his teammate Jamal Murray could be that guy, but the guard’s rise in last year’s playoffs set the bar high and unless he scores 30 per game or close to that, I don’t think he will be in contention.
The odds for Jerami Grant to win the Most Improved Player of the Year in 2021 are currently +5000 and that’s insane, in my opinion. The guy was excellent for the Nuggets last season and he left the franchise in free agency in order to get a bigger role with the Pistons.
Grant wants to be the first or second option on a team and he will get that in Detroit. His stats throughout the years show a steady rise and his last two seasons have been really solid.
With more freedom and a bigger role, I won’t be shocked to see Grant get close to the 20 points per game mark and increase his other numbers as well. If can do that while keeping his exceptional defensive performance, he certainly can win the prize.
The biggest problem I see is that the Pistons might struggle overall and that would put a shade on Grant’s individual rise. A quick look at the previous winners of the award shows that the team performance matters too.
The last athlete from a franchise that didn’t qualify for the NBA Playoffs to win the Most Improved Player of the Year was Goran Dragic in 2013-14. His Suns were only one win short, though, and they had a much better record than the year before.
That’s the main argument against backing Grant, but the price of +5000 is worth the risk.
There’s little doubt that DeAndre Ayton hasn’t lived up the expectations of the top pick in a draft class that included Luka Doncic and Trae Young. The center struggled with various problems in his first two seasons in the NBA, but the potential to improve in 2020-21 certainly is there.
The Phoenix Suns looked much stronger in the Bubble and they acquired the services of Chris Paul who is one of the best point guards in the league. His ability to elevate the young players around him was evident in Oklahoma, so the likes of Ayton and Booker should be able to improve too.
The center can benefit from Paul’s exceptional ability to create for others and we might see another edition of Lob City with him and Ayton.
If that happens and the Suns qualify for the postseason for the first time in ages, the big man certainly will enter the conversation for the Most Improved Player in the 2020-21 NBA season.
I might shock plenty of people with this one, but I believe that Donte DiVincenzo could upset the odds and win the award. The youngster showed potential on both ends of the floor with the Milwaukee Bucks last season and strikes me as a high-IQ player with an excellent work ethic.
That’s exactly the type of NBA athlete who could flourish under the right circumstances and make great leaps in his performance.
The biggest problem is that we don’t know where DiVincenzo will be next year. He was supposed to be part of the Bogdanovic deal with the Kings, but the trade has fallen apart.
The NBA has opened an investigation of the reported transaction involving Milwaukee and Sacramento that was to send Bogdan Bogdanovic to the Bucks via sign-and-trade after Friday's scheduled start of free agency, @NYTSports has learned— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) November 20, 2020
Many people believe that DiVincenzo’s motivation will decrease if he stays with the Bucks because the organization was ready to move him, but I don’t believe that.
We’re talking about a guy who grabbed his chance to shine in the March Madness Final Four to earn his place in the NBA and has worked like a dog in his early days in the league.
DiVincenzo knows how high the stakes are and he will continue proving himself time and time again. I expect him to earn a bigger role next season and he might be part of the conversation for the Most Improved Player of the Year.
I admit that I ignored some favorites, at least if you look at the Most Improved Player of the Year odds of the top betting sites, but that’s mainly because of the nature of the award. You never know which athletes would suddenly explode and I’m sure that many of you have their own crazy predictions.
I would love to see your top contenders for the NBA Most Player of the Year 2020-21, so feel free to share your comments below.
I have a similar post on the Rookie of the Year award for next season, so check it out as well.