The NBA Most Improved Player of the Year award is given to the player who shows the most progress during the regular season. The award is picked by a panel of sportswriters who cast votes of first, second and third. Each first-place vote is worth five points, a second-place vote three points and a third-place vote one point. The player with the most total points after the tally, regardless of first-place votes, is declared the winner.

This award has been given to a total of 31 players with no player winning the award twice. Pascal Siakam is the most recent recipient of the award, doing so last year while also winning the NBA title with the Toronto Raptors. This year, Siakam is interestingly in the Top 5 of the NBA betting odds board with the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander on top of the list.

Remember you can check our “How to Bet on NBA” article if you need any assistance, and without further ado here are the betting odds to win the 2020 NBA Most Improved Player Award:

Player Odds
Shai Gilgeous Alexander +550
Brandon Ingram +650
Malcolm Brogdon +1000
Terry Rozier +1000
Pascal Siakam +1200
Bam Adebayo +1400
Jaren Jackson Jr. +1600
Dejounte Murray +1600
Caris LeVert +1600
Trae Young +2000

Basketball Who Are the Early Favorites?

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was the Charlotte Hornets’ 11th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft out of the University of Kentucky. The 21-year old guard from Toronto, Canada was a second-team All-SEC in 2018 and he was also the 2018 SEC Tournament MVP in his lone collegiate season. Gilgeous-Alexander was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers on Draft night for Miles Bridges and he averaged 10.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game as a rookie while earning 2019 All-Rookie Second Team honors. He was traded along with Danilo Gallinari and future draft picks for Paul George last summer.

This season, Gilgeous Alexander has averaged 21.6 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.0 block per game in his first five games played for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Given that Alexander, Chris Paul, Dennis Schroder, Terrance Ferguson, and Hamidou Diallo are the only guards in OKC’s rotation, Alexander should get more minutes this season and continue to put up big numbers, especially with the team rebuilding.

Brandon Ingram was picked 2nd overall in the 2016 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers. Ingram played one season at Duke University where he earned Second-team All-ACC honors and was an AP Honorable All-American in 2016. He started slow but finished his rookie season strong with averages of 9.4 points and 4.0 rebounds per game while making it to the 2017 All-Rookie second team. Ingram had his best season last year when he averaged 18.2 points and 4.7 rebounds per game but his year was cut short by injury. He was traded this summer along with Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart for Anthony Davis.

At New Orleans, he becomes one of the Pelicans’ top scoring options along with Zion Williamson and Jrue Holiday. With Zion out due to a knee injury, Ingram has carried a bigger load early in the season. The Slender Man is averaging 26.8 points, 8.2 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game in the Pelicans’ first five games of the season.

Malcolm Brogdon was the 2017 NBA Rookie of the Year. He is the first second-round pick to win the award since 1965. The 6-6 Brogdon was the Milwaukee Bucks’ 36th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft after playing his collegiate career at the University of Virginia where he was a consensus All-American in 2016. In three seasons with the Bucks, he averaged 12.8 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game.

Last season, Brogdon became a member of the exclusive 50-40-90 club, becoming only the 8th player in NBA history to shoot at least 50% from the floor, 40% from behind the arc, and 90% from the foul line in an NBA season. Brogdon signed with the Indiana Pacers in a sign and trade deal in exchange for future draft picks. Now a starter in Indiana, Brogdon is averaging 22.6 points, 10.2 assists and 5.8 rebounds per game after five games played this season.

Terry Rozier III was the Boston Celtics’ 16th overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. The 25-year old from Youngstown, Ohio was a second-team All-ACC selection in 2015 while playing for the Louisville Cardinals. Rozier played deep in the Boston bench but made a name for himself during the 2018 season when Kyrie Irving was injured. Rozier averaged a career-high 11.3 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists that season and was key in Boston’s playoff run that year. Scary Terry averaged 16.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.7 assists in the 2018 playoffs where Boston was one win away from the NBA Finals.

When Irving returned to action last season, he saw his minutes and production dip again. He was traded last summer for Kemba Walker and is now a starter in Charlotte. At 29.8 minutes per game this season, Rozier is putting up 15.2 points, 5.6 assists and 1.2 steals per game. With more playing time and a bigger role, Rozier is expected to have a career season in 2019-20.

Pascal Siakam is the 7th player born outside the United States to win the NBA’s Most Improved Player of the Year award, doing so last season after playing a key role in the Toronto Raptors’ 2019 title-winning season. Siakam was Toronto’s 27th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft after playing collegiate ball at New Mexico State where he was the 2016 WAC Player of the Year. Siakam was the first rookie to start on opening night since Jonas Valanciunas in 2012 and although he had a good showing early in the season, he received several assignments to the Raptors 905, Toronto’s D-League affiliate.

After leading the Raptors 905 to the D-League title and winning the D-League Finals MVP in 2017, he earned a full-time job in Toronto’s main team. Spicy P averaged 16.9 points, 6.9 rebound and 3.1 blocks per game while winning this award last season. With Kawhi Leonard going to Los Angeles, Siakam has taken a bigger role this year. After five games, he is averaging 28.0 points, 9.2 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game as Toronto’s new go-to guy. Toronto is off to a surprising 4-1 start this season even without Leonard.

Basketball Who Wins?

It’s still very early in the NBA season and there are still so many things that are going to happen between now and the NBA award night. However, if the first five games of the season are indicators, then we could be seeing a tough MIP race this season. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Brandon Ingram and Malcolm, Brogdon are all having breakout seasons but when you look at the three, I expect Ingram and Brogdon to see their numbers drop when Zion Williamson and Victor Oladipo return for their respective teams.

I don’t think Terry Rozier is going to average in his 20s and I don’t think that Rozier’s Hornets nor Gilgeous-Alexander’s Thunder are going to make the playoffs this year. The reason I’m bringing out the playoffs because, since 2015, the Most Improved Player winner has come from a team that has made the postseason. As for Siakam, the Raptors are poised to make the playoffs in a weak Eastern Conference. But no player in the history of the NBA has won this award twice. Siakam’s numbers through the first five games of the season are worthy of a second look and a second award as well. If he makes the All-Star team and leads Toronto to a Top 4 seed, then maybe Spicy P can make history.

But the player I like is Bam Adebayo of the Miami Heat. With Hassan Whiteside gone, Adebayo has gotten the minutes he deserves in Miami and he is responding. Adebayo is putting up 15.0 points, 9.8 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 1.8 blocks and 1.2 steals per game in five games played this season. Adebayo has injected energy and athleticism to the Heat. With Jimmy Butler, Goran Dragic and their rookie sensations Kendrick Nunn and Tyler Herro, I think Miami goes to the playoffs this year. As for Adebayo, I think that if he stays healthy, he is going to have an impressive season. At +1400 right now, no doubt I’ll put my money on Bam Adebayo to win the 2020 Most Improved Player Award.

Prediction: Bam Adebayo

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