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

Houston Rockets v Philadelphia 76ers
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4. Jalen Johnson

Johnson's case for Most Improved Player:

2023-24: 14.1 pts, 7.3 reb, 2.4 ast
2022-23: 5.6 pts, 4.0 reb, 1.2 ast

Jalen Johnson suffered a wrist injury against the Washington Wizards over the weekend and is expected to miss extended time, but before that, he was enjoying a nice breakout campaign. The third-year forward played his way into the starting lineup and has emerged as a complimentary third option to teammates Trae Young and Dejounte Murray. 

Johnson has flourished in his new role with the Atlanta Hawks, nearly tripling his scoring output from a season ago while nearly doubling his rebounding averages as well. His 14.1 points and 7.3 rebounds per game rank fourth and second on the team, respectively. 

A major factor for the jump in his scoring output is an improved jump shot. After converting just 33 of his 117 (28.2%) 3-point attempts across his first two seasons in the NBA, Johnson has already knocked down 17 threes while shooting 42.5 percent from 3-point range this season.

He’s also been a force on defense and the boards. He has three double-doubles in the first 15 games of the season, two more than he had across his first 92 games in the league. He’s also recorded at least one steal in 10 of 15 games and at least one block in 12 of 15 games this season. 

The wrist injury is certainly something worth monitoring, as he is expected to miss the next four-six weeks, but as long as he doesn't miss too much time and can stay healthy, Jalen Johnson has a legitimate chance to be crowned the 2023-24 NBA Most Improved Player.