Ah, yes, the Most Improved Player of the Year award, A.K.A. the biggest NBA award that nobody really knows the parameters for. Last season, Goran Dragic made the leap with the Phoenix Suns and became an All-NBA point guard in the process of winning MIP, but since it’s August and all we can do to stave off summer boredom is speculate, it’s never too early to look at who will succeed the Dragon in 2014-15.
For the sake of clarity/sanity, we’re going to lay down some parameters for this open-to-interpretation award. For a player to be eligible for the MIP, they have to have made significant strides from the year before, which usually means that their preceding season can’t have been too impressive. We already know Anthony Davis is nowhere near his prime, but we’re not going to hand him this award next season even if he makes a monster leap because he was still a monster last year.
Our MIP has to make a statistical leap as well, though playing a different role on a more competitive team is one way to compensate in this area. Our Most Improved Player should obviously be a player on the rise, but they have to be recognizable enough from last season for us to actually care/noticed they’ve improved. It’s a delicate balance between being significant enough last season and making the jump this year, and we’ll expand on what that means as we go along. But first, let’s cover some honorable mentions.