A handful of players are in consideration for the NBA’s Most Improved Player (MIP), including Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics), Bam Adebayo (Miami Heat), and Brandon Ingram (New Orleans Pelicans), who is the favorite at 3/2 odds.
The MIP is one of the most distinguished honors in the NBA, and it usually honors a player that has come back from an injury or a younger player that finally came into his own during a career season.
According to a recent update by Draft Kings, Tatum is the overall favorite to win Most Improved Player, but Adebayo (3/1 odds) and Ingram (3/2 odds) are not far behind.
NBA Most Improved Player Odds
Brandon Ingram (New Orleans) +150
Bam Adebayo (Miami) +300
Jayson Tatum (Boston) +450
Luka Doncic (Dallas) +500
Devonte’ Graham (Charlotte) +1000
Trae Young and Luka Doncic are also in consideration, but they had such strong rookie seasons that their sensational scoring in their second seasons was expected. Doncic is 5/1 odds to win Most Improved Player and is 12/1 odds to win the NBA MVP, according to Ladbrokes.
Domantas Sabonis (Indiana Pacers) should be in the Top 5, but he’s currently +5000 or 50/1 odds to win MIP. Sabonis (18.2 ppg, 12.4 rebounds) carried the Pacers on his back for the first half of the season while Victor Oladipo recovered from knee surgery. He’s posting career numbers and scoring four-plus more points per game this season.
Brandon Ingram +150
The LA Lakers selected Ingram out of Duke with the #2 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. He came into his own in his second season, averaging 16.1 ppg. However, he didn’t fit in with the Lakers once LeBron James arrived, even though he increased his scoring to 18.3 ppg. The Lakers shipped Ingram to New Orleans in the blockbuster trade to acquire Anthony Davis.
In New Orleans, Ingram found a place where he can thrive and be the main guy. Toss in Zion Williamson and you have a dangerous 1-2 punch going forward with the Pelicans.
This season, Ingram ranks #13 overall in the NBA in scoring with 24.6 points per game. He’s also pulling down 6.2 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game.
Ingram dropped 34 points on the Lakers last week in his old stomping grounds in Los Angeles. He lit up the Brooklyn Nets last November for his first 40-plus game of the season. Ingram torched the Utah Jazz for a season-high 49 points during a 138-132 shootout in overtime.
Bam Adebayo +300
At the start of the season, OG told you to keep an eye on Bam Adebayo as a sleeper fantasy basketball pick. I hope you took my advice. Adebayo is one of the reasons why the Heat are playing way above expectations. You can find Adebayo at 3/1 odds to ship the Most Improved Player trophy this season.
The Heat took Adebayo out of Kentucky with the #14 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. He’s morphed into a rebounding beast and is currently ranked #8 in rebounding. He’s averaging 16.1 points with 10.5 rebounds per game.
In his third NBA season, Adebayo averages +7.2 more points and +3.2 rebounds per game. He’s started all 62 games this season, compared to just 28 last season. In a short time, he went from one of Erik Spolestra’s role players off the bench to a key contributor on both ends of the court. Adebayo averages 1.3 blocks per game.
Aebayo scored a season-high 30 points, plus 11 rebounds, in a 135-121 overtime victory against the Atlanta Hawks in December. In a recent game against the Hawks, the Heat lost a 129-124 shootout, but Adebayo scored 28 points, hauled down 19 rebounds, and dished seven assists in a dominant performance.
Jayson Tatum (Boston) +450
Jayson Tatum is the X-factor in Boston. If Tom Brady leaves the Patriots, then he’ll become the Big Dog in Beantown. Tatum offers up decent value at 9/2 odds, but Ingram will be tough to beat out for the NBA Most Improved Player this season.
The Celtics drafted Tatum out of Duke with the #3 overall pick in 2017. He had a strong rookie season and started 80 games, averaging 13.9 ppg. Last season, he put up 15.7 ppg and 6.1 rebounds per game.
In his third NBA season, Tatum averages 23.6 ppg, 7.1 rebounds, and 3.0 assists per game. With the addition of Kemba Walker in the offseason, the Celtics have a soul-crushing scoring tandem with Tatum and Walker. You never know which one of them will go off that night.
Tatum has been on a tear averaging 30.3 ppg in February. He lit up the Lakers for 41 points in a loss on a night the Celtics didn’t have Kemba Walker in the lineup.