NBA Most Improved Midseason Candidates
There have been younger and less proven teams that have jumped out during this NBA season so far. Others like the Los Angeles Lakers have been plagued due to injury.
The Memphis Grizzlies are surprisingly becoming one of the contenders in the Western Conference. Both Ja Morant and Desmond Bane have stated their claim in the NBA's most improved player category.
Here’s a list and breakdown for other potential candidates for the award as we approach almost midway through the season.
1. Ja Morant Memphis Grizzlies
Morant as Memphis has gained more momentum throughout the season has actually staked his name into the MVP race. It’s starting to feel like he should then be disqualified from the most improved category.
Morant is averaging over 26 points per game and is guiding a young inexperienced team through a crowded western conference.
It would feel wrong at the end of the season to not see Morant capture an award so still keep an eye on his name for most improved even though he has a chance to finish high in the MVP race.
2. Desmond Bane Memphis Grizzlies
Bane has quietly become one of the league's best defenders. The second-year pro is helping Morant create a tough and physical identity for Memphis.
Bane is in the top ten in three-point field goals made this season. With the increased workload it’s impressive where his shooting statistics are. Bane will only get better throughout the season.
Do not be surprised to see a Grizzly win this award at the end of the season.
3. Miles Bridges Charlotte Hornets
Bridges is becoming a common name throughout the NBA. What he and Lamelo Ball have been doing for a historically bad hornets franchise is truly special and entertaining.
Bridges is averaging a career-high with just over 19 points per game. This hornet is becoming one of the best dunkers in the game as well. He attacks the rim aggressively and is playing the most minutes of his career.
Bridges deserves some consideration for this award as he continues to be the heart and soul of the Hornets.
4. Dejounte Murray San Antonio Spurs
Fans have been waiting for the breakout of Murray for a few years now. It always seemed as if he was just an injury away or just a few young talented teammates short of becoming a regular name in basketball.
Murray is averaging close to 20 points a game while averaging over eight rebounds and nine assists as well. It will come down to the Spurs being relevant enough for there to be a chance for Murray to win this award.
But, no matter how San Antonio finishes the season this is a good sign for the franchise that needs more players like Murray either to rebuild this team or to attract more young talent to San Antonio.
5. Darius Garland Cleveland Cavaliers
Very much like the Memphis Grizzlies in a way most NBA fans didn’t expect the Cavs to be in the position they currently are.
Evan Mobley and Garland have become one of the league's most exciting young duos. Garland is currently averaging 19.8 points per game to go along with 8.5 assists. Cleveland is still the fifth seed in the Eastern conference, with the absence of Collin Sexton it makes what Garland is doing that much more impressive.
If Cleveland manages to make the playoffs there is no reason for Garland not to receive consideration for this award.
Sam Kirk is a second-year studying broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com
About the Contributors
Junior / Broadcast Journalism
Sam Kirk is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism at Penn State. He is a writer and podcaster for the CommRadio sports department. He is also featured weekly in the CommRadio news department on Thursday newcasts. Sam has written articles all across the board that deal with baseball, football and basketball. He is also working for a football media company called Inside the Hashes, writing articles, interviewing players and contributing to their YouTube channel.