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Top Contenders for NBA Most Improved Player of the Year in 2021-22

By Dan Vasta in NBA
| August 25, 2021 1:32 pm PDT

The 2021-22 NBA season will be here before you know it, but the time is now to get your best value on future odds. The recent run on forwards winning this award is a trend that may continue.

Guards have been winning the Sixth Man of the Year, but the Most Improved Players that have won, are forwards that can put the ball on the deck and score.

Last season we saw a resurgence from the career of Julius Randle (2020 MIP winner). The New York Knicks became one of the trendy teams despite losing in the first round against the Atlanta Hawks. Randle was filling up the stat sheet and ended up reaching his first All-Star game.

Randle fits the bill, but there will be new players that emerge this season. Looking ahead to the 2021-22 season, here are the odds for the NBA’s Most Improved Player of the Year, with a look at the top contenders.

Odds for the Most Improved Player of the Year

Michael Porter Jr.+900
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander+1000
Zion Williamson+1200
Kevin Porter Jr.+1400
Jaren Jackson Jr.+1600
Jaylen Brown+1600
Christian Wood+1800
Darius Garland+1800
Chris Boucher+2000
Collin Sexton+2000
Immanuel Quickley+2000

These odds suggest that there will be continued success for forwards with a wingspan that can dominate the opposition.

The most compelling pick on this list is Zion Williamson. However, even if Williamson improves upon his numbers, he likely will come up short of winning the award.

Zion put up 27.1 points per game last season while shooting 61.1% from the floor. The Pelicans have struggled and have been through multiple coaches. While we could see them make a move toward contending for a spot, the West is too deep, and Williamson may not improve too much – if at all – on his numbers.

Jaylen Brown might be the other relevant name here since he plays for the Boston Celtics. Boston has Jayson Tatum, who dominates the ball like a point guard, but Brown had respectable numbers last season.

Being a top 20 scorer in the league was impressive, but there are valuable odds on other players.

Top Contenders for the Most Improved Player of the Year

The odds-on Williamson and Brown suggest they are two of the top contenders. The issue with gambling on them is that they are already respectable players.

They aren’t the top contenders in my books. Let’s look at some other notable contenders that may deserve a bet for Most Improved Player this season.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (+1000)

SGA is a player that flashed last season as an elite scorer since he has carried the Oklahoma City offense.

We could see his points stay above 20 per game, and the assists will hover over seven a pop.

There is room for growth and development for him to become a potential All-Star.

Michael Porter Jr. (+900)

The Denver Nuggets are playoff threats, and they have Nikola Jokic the reigning MVP. Jokic can do it all, but Porter Jr. has a boatload of talent.

In the recent postseason, Porter Jr. averaged 17.4 points per game on a 47.4% shooting percentage. He’s also displayed massive blow-up potential as a scorer.

He has the size (6’10) and athleticism to be a great perimeter player for the Nuggets.

Jamal Murray and Jokic are studs, but a third wheel could put them into NBA Finals contention. These contenders are among the top favorites, but others can potentially bring you back even more value.

Most Improved Player Dark Horses

These players are the ones that can put the most cash in your wallet. Finding the perfect dark horses is vital because the favorites will likely disappoint.

Here’s a look at some key dark horses for NBA Most Improved Player this year.

John Collins (+2000)

Atlanta is an offense that I am in love with due to Trae Young. The ability to expose defenses with shooters will benefit John Collins.

The shooting ability and handles Young has will allow him to dominate games. He has talented teammates, and a few are high-flying monsters that can soar above the backboard.

Collins is a genetic freak that can run the court and score off the bounce. The fast-break ability and frenetic pace that Atlanta shows are absurd. Collins even has a face-up game that is tough to defend due to his quickness.

The pick-and-roll game with Young and Collins is a dynamic duo that will be tough to limit.

Collins could be a future All-Star, and the numbers will soon follow. His pure scoring ability stood out during his days at Wake Forest in the ACC. The value he brings at +2000 could shorten before the season begins.

Deandre Ayton (+4000)

Another dark horse contender for the 2021-22 NBA Most Improved Player of the Year that would bring back a pretty penny would be DeAndre Ayton.

Ayton went bonkers in the Western Conference Finals against Los Angeles. He was especially dominant in game two of that series.

He averaged a double-double like he had all regular season. Ayton averaged nearly 18-14 while shooting 68.9% from the floor. The return of Chris Paul will be pivotal for the growth of Ayton.

Ayton is such a monster that it is tough to limit his offensive rebounding ability. Opposing defenses have to respect Devin Booker and his lethal shooting ability, so the paint is wide open for Ayton to dominate.

Dillon Brooks (+6000)

The last player to take a flier for value purposes would be Dillon Brooks.

Brooks showed in the postseason that he brings value. Those performances will springboard him to the 2021 season.

He really stepped up his game against the Jazz. Even though it was in a losing effort, look at what he was able to do.

  • 25.8 points per game
  • 52.8% FG percentage
  • 42.9% from three

To perform that well against Utah was nearly flawless, and this was while being tasked with shutting down guys on the other end of the floor.

His team came up short, but Brooks bailed them out several times. Keep in mind Utah was a top-three defense in many categories.

Betting on the Most Improved Player of the Year in 2021-22

There are plenty of choices that you could lean with to take home the hardware this upcoming season. I avoid taking chalk for most future wagers because most times, the favorites come up short.

Making a few selections is worth consideration, but John Collins (+2000) is the one I’d be eyeing for 2021-22 NBA Most Improved Player of the Year.

He is among the top dozen or so favorites at the best NBA betting apps, and there is spectacular upside potential. Atlanta does not play much defense, so they will consistently get into shootouts where points will be flowing.

Trae Young has the skills and talents to be a future Hall of Famer. He has a great partner at his side in Collins, and the two should flourish. Collins will be 24 years old this season, and is ready for an upgrade in production.

He will have a chance to average 20-plus points a game with double-digit rebounds and plenty of highlight-reel lobs from half-court. Feel free to take a shot on a few others, but Collins is ready for stardom in the NBA.

Be sure to check out our other articles on NBA odds and contenders for the upcoming 2021-22 season.



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