5 breakout candidates for the 2023–24 NBA Most Improved Player Award

Houston Rockets v Philadelphia 76ers
Houston Rockets v Philadelphia 76ers / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages
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Honorable Mentions

Cam Thomas

Thomas' case for Most Improved Player:
2023-24: 26.9 pts, 3.8 reb, 2.1 ast
2022-23: 10.6 pts, 1.7 reb, 1.4 ast

Cam Thomas came out the gates scorching hot, scoring at least 30 points in each of the Brooklyn Nets’ first three games of the season. Although he’s struggled to find his range, shooting a career-low 32.1 percent from 3-point range, Thomas is shooting 55.4 percent on two-pointers and nearly 50 percent overall. 

With the Nets in the midst of a rebuild, Thomas has capitalized on his new role in Brooklyn. After scoring just 10.6 points per game in 57 games last season, Thomas has seen a major bump in scoring, averaging a career-best 26.9 points in eight games this season. 

The only thing keeping Cam Thomas on the outside looking in is his health. If not for the ankle injury that has forced him to miss the past few weeks, Thomas would be much closer to the top of these rankings.

Tyrese Haliburton

Haliburton's case for Most Improved Player:

2023-24: 25.4 pts, 3.9 reb, 12.1 ast
2022-23: 20.7 pts, 3.7 reb, 10.4 ast

Tyrese Haliburton has gotten off to an extremely hot start to the season. While we haven’t seen a major bump in his statistical categories other than points, he’s still averaging career-highs in points and assists on career-high shooting splits as well, and his 12.1 assists per game lead the entire NBA. 

Haliburton has seven games with at least 25 points, including three games with at least 30 points and a 43-point performance against the Charlotte Hornets. He’s produced double-digit assists in all but two games, highlighted by four games with at least 15 assists. He also ranks in the top five of the NBA with 12 double-doubles on the season. 

Haliburton has always been an efficient scorer with a knack for knocking down difficult shots, but this season, he’s taken that to another level. He’s currently on pace to be the first Pacer to post 50/40/90 splits since Reggie Millier did it in the 1993-94 season.

Despite the lack of self-creators on the roster, the Pacers lead the league in points per game, mostly because of Haliburton’s high basketball IQ and floor awareness. Now that he’s proven he can run an NBA offense, it’s time for the Pacers front office to surround him with the right pieces so the results show up in the win column, not just the box scores.