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NBA Most Improved Player 2023-24: Evaluating NBA MIP candidates, latest odds and past winners

NBA Most Improved Player Award race
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Who is the NBA Most Improved Player in 2023-’24? Today’s NBA is filled with a lot of great players. We have big guys who can shoot like guards and guards who can get double-digit rebounds on a given night.

As we get to the halfway mark of the NBA season, let’s look at guys who are playing their way toward postseason awards.

Related: NBA games today

Let’s start with the NBA Most Improved Player candidates for 2023-’24.

Tyrese Maxey, Philadelphia 76ers

NBA: Chicago Bulls at Philadelphia 76ers
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Tyrese Maxey was on his way to being an NBA All-Star last season before suffering a foot injury that kept him out for a month.

Related: NBA power rankings

He’s making up for it this season. He is on pace to be a Top 10 scorer and his assist numbers have gone from 3.5 to 6.4 per game.

Tyrese Maxey stats comparison

SeasonGamesFG%RebAstPts
2022-2360.4812.93.520.3
2023-2432.4583.76.425.9
Basketball Reference

Alperen Sengun, Houston Rockets

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Houston Rockets
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

After Alperen Sengun had a 30-point game earlier in the season, Houstons Rockets guard Fred VanVleet called him a “superstar in the making.”

High praise indeed. Sengun’s scoring has gone up dramatically as he is becoming more involved in the Rockets’ offense. He is taking four more shots per game over last season. He is shooting better from the field and from 3-point range.

Alperen Sengun stats this season vs. last season

SeasonGmFG%RebAstPts
2022-2375.55393.914.8
2023-2432.54795.221.5
Basketball Reference

Scottie Barnes, Toronto Raptors

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Memphis Grizzlies
Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Scottie Barnes has improved in almost every category this season for the Toronto Raptors, which is good for a team that, at one point last season, was thinking about trading him.

Barnes has become a much better shooter this season, particularly from 3-point range, going from 28% to 38%.

Scottie Barnes stats this season vs. last season

SeasonGmFG%RebAstPts
2022-2377.4566.64.815.3
2023-2434.4819.15.821.0
Basketball Reference

Tyrese Haliburton, Indiana Pacers

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Indiana Pacers
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this season, Tyrese Haliburton might have been on the NBA Most Improved Player list and the NBA MVP list as well. He went through a stretch this season putting up some of the best numbers in NBA history.

Haliburton has improved his field goal percentage, his 3-point percentage and he leads the league in assists.

Tyrese Haliburton stats this season vs. last season

SeasonGmFG%RebAstPts
2022-2356.4903.710.420.7
2023-2430.5014.112.724.9
Basketball Reference

Coby White, Chicago Bulls

NBA: Chicago Bulls at Philadelphia 76ers
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Coby White is the most improved player on the Chicago Bulls roster this season and has become a focal point of opposing teams’ defenses.

No longer can teams just stick a guy on him because White has dramatically improved over last season. Playing mostly point guard this season, White’s assist percentage and 3-point shooting numbers have gone way up, as have his rebounding.

Coby White stats this season vs. last season

SeasonGmFG%RebAstPts
2022-2374.4432.92.89.7
2023-2436.4404.34.817.0
Basketball Reference

Franz Wagner, Orlando Magic

NBA: Orlando Magic at Golden State Warriors
D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

The only thing that might slow down Franz Wagner is a recent ankle injury. How long he’s out might affect his chances with this award.

Wagner has improved his rebounding, assists and scoring per 100 possessions. More importantly, his play is helping the Orlando Magic compete in the Eastern Conference for the first time in a while.

Franz Wagner stats this season vs. last season

SeasonGmFG%RebAstPts
2022-2380.4854.13.518.6
2023-2434.4675.93.920.9
Basketball Reference

Anfernee Simons, Portland Trail Blazers

NBA: Washington Wizards at Portland Trail Blazers
Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

If the Most Improved Player award spanned a player’s career, the Anfernee Simons would win hands down. He averaged. He averaged 3.8 points and less than 1 assist per game his rookie year.

Now look at him. His true shooting percentage is 58% and his offensive rating is just outside the top 20.

Anfernee Simons stats this season vs. last season

SeasonGmFG%RebAstPts
2022-2362.4472.64.121.1
2023-2412.4473.35.126.1
Basketball Reference

Derrick White, Boston Celtics

NBA: Boston Celtics at Oklahoma City Thunder
Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Derrick White had always been known as a defensive specialist. This season, he is contributing on the offensive end and is a starter for the best team in the NBA.

His true shooting percentage is five points higher than last season and is the best of his nine-year career as is his 3-point attempt rate

Derrick White stats this season vs. last season

SeasonGmFG%RebAstPts
2022-2382.4623.63.912.4
2023-2430.4943.95.317.0
Basketball Reference

Jalen Johnson, Atlanta Hawks

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Washington Wizards
James A. Pittman-USA TODAY Sports

Jalen Johnson might be the perfect fit to play alongside Trae Young in the Atlanta Hawks offense. He works to get open and does a lot of the dirty work on the floor.

His scoring has almost tripled from last season and his rebounding has more than doubled. His effective field goal percentage went from 54% to 65%. His improvement has been dramatic under coach Quin Snyder.

Jalen Johnson stats this season vs. last season

SeasonGmFG%RebAstPts
2022-2370.49141.25.6
2023-2419.5968.12.715.3
Basketball Reference

Jalen Williams, Oklahoma City Thunder

NBA: Boston Celtics at Oklahoma City Thunder
Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

He’s only a second-year player, but Jalen Williams has improved his overall game and more importantly, helped the Oklahoma City Thunder become a serious contender in the Western Conference.

His true shooting percentage is 62% and he has cut way down on his turnover percentage from last season.

Jalen Williams stats this season vs. last season

SeasonGmFG%RebAstPts
2022-2375.5214.53.314.1
2023-2430.5283.83.918.0
Basketball Reference

Odds to win the Most Improved Player NBA

  • Tyrese Maxey -210
  • Alperen Sengun +340
  • Scottie Barnes +1600
  • Tyrese Haliburton +1600
  • Coby White +1900
  • Franz Wagner +7500
  • Anfernee Simons +7500
  • Derrick White +7500
  • Jalen Johnson +12000
  • Jalen Williams +20000
  • Paolo Banchero +20000
  • Kyle Kuzma +20000
  • Duncan Robinson +20000
  • Cade Cunningham +30000
  • Mikal Bridges +30000
  • Shaedon Sharpe +30000
  • Cam Thomas +30000

Odds by FanDuel

Who will be the NBA Most Improved Player this season?

Philadelphia 76ers guard Tyrese Maxey is the leading candidate for the NBA Most Improved Player Award, followed by Chet Holmgren of the Houston Rockets and Scottie Barnes of the Toronto Raptors.

Who won the Most Improved Player NBA 2023?

Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen won the 2022-23 NBA Most Improved Player.

Markkanen had career highs in scoring (25.6), rebounding (8.6), assists (1.9) and free throw attempts (9.0) and shot 49.9% from the field, 39.1% from 3-point range and 87.5% from the free throw line. He led Utah in scoring, rebounding and free throw attempts.

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