History has proven that players who win Most Improved, often times become superstars in the league. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Victor Oladipo and perhaps Pascal Siakam are all names that come to mind. But lets look at some potential future MIP players…
1. Jeremy Lamb
Jeremy Lamb is shaping up to be the number two man behind Hornets superstar Kemba Walker. Both of these players will be free agents this offseason, and one or both of them could be on their way out. Although the Hornets would love to keep both, the lingering payments that remain out to Marvin Williams and Michael Kidd Gilchrist for the next 2 years, and Batum for the next 3, could make bringing both Lamb and Walker back a difficult task. The Hornets will certainly take Walker first, which could see Jeremy Lamb leaving Charlotte. Lamb has been phenomenal this year behind Walker, but perhaps the best is yet to come. If Lamb can get onto a team lacking a dominant scorer like the Knicks or Pelicans (assuming AD leaves) we could see Jeremy Lamb rise to stardom with a new squad. He certainly has shown flashes this season, highlighted by the game winner against Detroit he hit earlier this season.
2. Elfrid Payton
I’ve been saying Elfird Payton could win most improved every year for the past 2 seasons. He continues to prove me wrong. But I am not giving up hope. I envision Payton as a Rondo like player. Incredible playmaking ability, height advantage, and a steadily improving jumper. Payton has been getting better and better every season, despite having a steadily decreasing role on his teams. Payton has proven he can put up a triple double quite often, which is promising. I do think if Payton wants to grow as an individual, he should look to Los Angeles (or wherever Rondo goes) because Payton has an opportunity to learn from a player very similar to him. Many people would call me crazy, but I like Payton’s odds of becoming a star as much or more than Lonzo Ball. Although both similar players, Payton’s shot is much more convincing, however an increased scoring role could give us a better taste at what we’re in for in regards to Elfrid Payton.
3. Jacob Poetl
Raptors fans were very excited about the prospect of Jacob Poetl, and when he was traded in the Derozan-Kawhi deal, Toronto was shook. Many fans incorrectly believed it should’ve been now superstar Pascal Siakam. Poetl shoots an impressive 63% from the field, which is some of the most efficient shooting in the league. Although most of Poetl’s points come from the paint, he still is a reliable scorer that San Antonio should explore furthermore. Since being traded to San Antonio, Poetl has fallen off the radar a bit, despite a minute decrease Poetl maintains somewhat consistent with his stats in Toronto, which many people don’t realize. After all he’s only 23, and still has a lot of growing to do as a player, and shooting 63% in your third season is something NBA fans shouldn’t ignore.
4. Markelle Fultz
Fultz has been the center of attention in his very short tenure in the league so far. Fultz shoulder injury has kept him unable to play and shoot for his entire NBA career. But the former number one overall pick might not be done. Fultz was traded to Orlando, a team that believes in him. I have a feeling when Fultz is 100% healthy, he’ll once again be a force to be reckoned with. The Orlando Magic are also a notorious team when it comes to most improved player awards. Along with the Indiana Pacers, the Magic are responsible for 5 MIP awards since the award was introduced. Perhaps the Magic could be receiving their sixth, as Fultz is a perfect opportunity for Orlando to recreate the superstar that Markelle Fultz can be.
5. Jaren Jackson Jr.
JJJ has been incredible so far. Already establishing himself as one of the best shot blockers in the league in only his rookie year. But he’s still far from a star in the league. Jackson could however, become this next season. With a strong off season and some hard work, we could see the former Michigan State standout become the next big thing in this league. If there’s anyone I think could be an all star on this list next year, I would comfortably pick Jaren Jackson. If he can bring his offense to the same caliber that his defense is currently at, not a doubt in my mind that Jaren Jackson will be the best two way big in the league.
Is there anyone else you guys think could win MIP next season? I’d love to hear your guys’ thoughts, so leave a comment below and let me know!!!
Thanks for reading!