NBA Most Improved Player Watch: Feb 10

Story posted February 10, 2022 in CommRadio, Sports by Kasey Kreider

As the NBA season enters its final two months, the races for both playoff seeding and the end-of-season awards are beginning to take shape. Among the accolades being fought for is the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award.

While many players are still in contention for the award, some have separated themselves from the rest of the pack. Below is a list of the current frontrunners.

Ja Morant, Guard, Memphis Grizzlies

If you haven’t heard by now, Ja Morant is pretty good at basketball. Not only is the former second overall pick the current favorite to win the Most Improved Player Award. 

On the strength of averaging 26.5 points per game, Morant has his Grizzlies sitting pretty in the playoff picture with a 38-18 overall record, good for third in the Western Conference.

Perhaps Morant’s progression shouldn’t come as a surprise after being named Rookie of the Year in 2019-20 and backing that up with an impressive playoff debut last season.

Still, the improvement can’t be denied, and Morant was rewarded by being named to his first All-Star Game as a starter.

Last season, Giannis Antetokounmpo became the first former Most Improved Player to win Finals MVP. Could Morant set himself up to someday be the second?

Miles Bridges, Forward, Charlotte Hornets

Unlike Morant, Miles Bridges may not be the biggest star on his own team.

Still, he along with young superstar LaMelo Ball and a plentitude of young and veteran talent, have the Hornets sitting right in the thick of the playoff picture for the second straight year.

While Bridges may still be most known for his emphatic dunks, he’s also been putting together easily the best season of his career. Bridges has averaged 19.8 points per game, 7.1 rebounds per game and 3.6 assists per game, all career highs by a mile.

If Bridges continues at this production level for the last two months of the season, he could help put the Hornets in the playoffs for the first time in six years, perhaps picking up Most Improved Player honors in the process.

Darius Garland, Guard, Cleveland Cavaliers

Last season, Julius Randle led an upstart New York Knicks team to a surprising playoff run, winning Most Improved Player honors in the process. The “Cinderella team” of this season’s NBA might just be the Cleveland Cavaliers, and third-year player Darius Garland has a lot to do with that.

Garland’s averages of 19.9 points per game and 8.1 assists per game have helped bring the Cavs back to relevance for the first time since LeBron left. In addition, Garland was selected to his first All-Star Game as a reserve, further strengthening his case for the award.

Garland, along with Rookie of the Year candidate Evan Mobley and emerging big man Jarrett Allen, have the Cavaliers comfy for now inside the NBA’s playoff bubble.

Other Names to Keep an Eye On
Dejounte Murray, Guard, San Antonio Spurs
Desmond Bane, Guard, Memphis Grizzlies
Jarrett Allen, Center, Cleveland Cavaliers
Tyrese Maxey, Guard, Philadelphia 76ers
Anfernee Simons, Guard, Portland Trail Blazers

Kasey Kreider is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email