NBA Most Improved Player of the Year Odds: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Has Shown the Most Growth

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Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the Oklahoma City Thunder looks on against the Chicago Bulls during the second half at United Center. Michael Reaves/Getty Images/AFP

NBA Pick: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to Win Most Improved Player (+140) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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With the NBA season in the home stretch, the awards markets are starting to shape up. We have an excellent race in the NBA’s Most Improved Player award. Let’s dive right in to make a winning NBA pick

The NBA’s Most Improved Player award is recognition for the player who has demonstrated the most tangible individual development from their previous season. The award measures increases in production and the individual’s impact on his team’s success. 

Last year, the Memphis Grizzlies Ja Morant won the award. He improved from a top-level player to an MVP candidate. The year before, the award went to Julius Randle of the New York Knicks, whose increase in production led the Knicks to their highest playoff seeding in over 10 years. The year before that, the award went to Brandon Ingram of the New Orleans Pelicans, whose increase in usage led to a breakout in production. 

The Most Improved Player is usually an All-Star with a tangible increase in counting stats such as points, rebounds, and assists. The award has been given to players who average 4 years of experience. This year there are two candidates who are neck and neck for the award and a dark horse. Let’s take a look at each individual’s merits to be considered for this award. 

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Oklahoma City Thunder)

  • Odds to Win NBA Most Improved Player of the Year Award (+140) 

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is following the path of last year’s winner, Ja Morant. Rather than making the growth from role player to star, Alexander has gone from star to MVP candidate. The Oklahoma City Thunder is a team that has also greatly exceeded expectations. 

Gilgeous-Alexander is averaging 30 points, five assists, and five rebounds. These numbers put him at the top of the league. If the Thunder were a legitimate championship contender, he would be in the conversation for MVP. 

The point guard’s scoring has gone up more than five points per game and he is currently 5th in the NBA in scoring. These types of improvements catch the voter’s eyes and he has shown the same level of growth that Ja Morant displayed last year. 

Lauri Markkanen (Utah Jazz)

  • Odds to Win NBA Most Improved Player of the Year Award (+145)

Lauri Markkanen was acquired by the Utah Jazz in the trade that sent out star Donovan Mitchell. At the time, Markkanen was considered to be a throw-in or a salary filler. His ceiling was considered to be that of a role player in the NBA.

Markkanen has greatly exceeded expectations. He has been the key to the Jazz not being in the Western Conference basement, as many prognosticators had predicted when the season began. 

Utah’s power forward averaged 14 points, one assist, and six rebounds with the Cavaliers last season. This season, he is averaging 25 points, 9 rebounds, and two assists per game. Markkanen was the Jazz’s representative at the All-Star game this season. 

Markkanen’s development in Utah’s unexpected success this season makes him a frontrunner for the award. 

Jalen Brunson (New York Knicks)

  • Odds to Win NBA Most Improved Player of the Year Award (+250) 

Jalen Brunson is having a stellar season and also has the power of the New York media market behind him. Succeeding in New York gets you more acclaim and due to the pressure that the large fan base and fierce media puts on a player, it can be argued that success in New York is more of an accomplishment. 

Brunson averaged 16 points per game last year with Dallas. There he was the second option behind usage monster Luka Doncic. Brunson is averaging 23 points per game in New York, where he is the focal point of the team’s offensive attack. 

The point guard has been leading the team’s offense and is also often the team’s go-to guy with the game on the line. Not only has Brunson been scoring more points per game, but he has also been scoring with the game on the line. 

Last season, the Knicks were firmly in the lottery. Currently, they are in 7th place and have a great chance to make the playoffs. Brunson’s addition has been key to New York’s success. Brunson must be considered when choosing the Most Improved Player. 

NBA Most Improved Player of the Year Award Best Bet 

Although Lauri Markkanen deserves the award, the best bet for this award is Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Ja Morant set the precedent last year and Alexander’s growth into an MVP candidate will be rewarded by the voters. 

The Thunder will make a push for the playoffs while the Utah Jazz have decided to pack it in. The Thunder will finish with a more impressive record and that will also factor into the voter’s minds. 

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has made huge growth this season and is the main component of the Thunder’s team success. He will be rewarded when the Most Improved Player award is bestowed upon him. Our best bet for this award is for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to win Most Improved Player at NBA odds of +140. You can bet on Gilgeous-Alexander at any of the top US betting sites.

NBA Pick: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to Win Most Improved Player (+140) at BetOnline

*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.