The 2022-23 NBA Season kicks off on Tuesday, Oct. 18. Some bettors and fans already have their sights set on this year’s individual awards, including the NBA Most Improved Player honors.
Memphis Grizzlies superstar Ja Morant took home the MIP award. After averaging 19.1 points, 4.0 rebounds and 7.4 assists as a sophomore, Morant ended the 2021-22 season by averaging 27.4 PTS/5.7 REB/6.7 AST while improving his shooting splits from .449/.303/.728 to .493/.344/.761.
Only time will tell which player follows in Morant’s path to showcase the most improvements this season. Fortunately, FanDuel Sportsbook already has the latest 2023 NBA Most Improved Player odds, plus Betting News has some picks for the award race.
NBA Most Improved Player Odds 2023
All NBA odds are via FanDuel Sportsbook as of Friday, Oct. 14 at 7:34 a.m. ET.
Anthony Edwards, Minnesota Timberwolves (+850)
Tyrese Maxey, Philadelphia 76ers (+1200)
RJ Barrett, New York Knicks (+1800)
Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans (+1800)
Jalen Brunson, New York Knicks (+2400)
Tyrese Haliburton, Indiana Pacers (+2500)
Michael Porter Jr, Denver Nuggets (+2700)
LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets (+3200)
Keldon Johnson, San Antonio Spurs (+3600)
Scottie Barnes, Toronto Raptors (+3800)
Cade Cunningham, Detroit Pistons (+3800)
Collin Sexton, Utah Jazz (+4200)
Jordan Poole, Golden State Warriors (+4200)
Anfernee Simons, Portland Trail Blazers (+4600)
OG Anunoby, Toronto Raptors (+4600)
Jalen Green, Houston Rockets (+4600)
Alperen Sengun, Houston Rockets (+4600)
Devin Vassell, San Antonio Spurs (+4600)
Josh Giddey, Oklahoma City Thunder (+4900)
Evan Mobley, Cleveland Cavaliers (+4900)
NBA Most Improved Player 2023 Picks
RJ Barrett to Win (+1800)
RJ Barrett is one of the more talented young players in the NBA today. However, it’s reasonable to say that the 22-year-old Canadian hasn’t even scratched the surface of his potential despite averaging a career-high 20 points per game last season.
What makes Barrett a great pick to be named the NBA Most Improved Player is that he still has a ton of room to grow. As mentioned above, he only turned 22 back in June, so it’s likely that he isn’t in his prime just yet.
Secondly, his 2021-22 shooting splits were down from the previous season. Barrett averaged .441/.401/.746 as a sophomore, only for his splits to drop to .408/.342/.714 in his third professional season.
With how talented Barrett is, it won’t be shocking to see him improve those shooting percentages. Besides, the Knicks should be a better team this season now that Jalen Brunson is in the fold, meaning improved play across the team could inspire Barrett to take his game to new heights.
At the end of the day, Barrett was drafted third overall in 2019 for a reason. If he’s as good as the Knicks’ scouts thought he could be, an MIP run could be in the cards.
Tyrese Haliburton to Win (+2500)
The Sacramento Kings shocked the world when they sent Tyrese Haliburton packing last season in the Domantas Sabonis trade. Haliburton made it clear that he wanted to be a part of the Kings going forward, however, Sacramento’s loss is the Indiana Pacers’ gain.
Haliburton is a great 2023 NBA Most Improved Player pick because of the improvements he showed simply by switching teams. He was averaging 14.3 PTS/3.9 REB/7.4 AST while shooting 45.7% from the field in 51 games with the Kings, only to improve to 17.5 PTS/4.3 REB/9.6 AST with a .502 FG% in 26 games with the Pacers.
Is that a small sample size? Of course, but Haliburton proved that he can be the primary playmaker while still scoring the ball in his new environment.
If Haliburton continues that trend, he should be in the running for MIP. People might say that his assist numbers might not be great due to the Pacers being projected to be one of the NBA’s worst teams. However, he still has solid shooters like Chris Duarte, Bennedict Mathurin and Buddy Hield surrounding him for the time being.
Haliburton seems to be a man on a mission, looking to prove his former team wrong for trading him away. That motivation alone could be enough to take him NBA Most Improved Player honors.
Keldon Johnson to Win (+3600)
After trading away Dejounte Murray this offseason, the San Antonio Spurs don’t exactly have a clear-cut top player. The situation now opens the door for Keldon Johnson to step up and possible be named the NBA Most Improved player in his fourth season.
The 2019 NBA Draft’s 29th overall pick, Johnson already showed improvement last season by averaging career-highs in points (17.0), rebounds (6.1), assist (5.0) and three-point percentage (39.8%).
Someone has to put up points for the Spurs this season and it may as well be Johnson. Outside of him, San Antonio doesn’t have any major offensive threats unless someone else showcases some serious improvements.
As long as Johnson stays healthy and builds on last season’s successful run, he’s a great pick to be named Most Improved Player at +3600 odds. His odds are only going to get better as the season progresses, so now is the time to capitalize on his being a dark horse.