#76. 2016–17 NBA MIP Predictions
The winner of the Most Improved Player award is an honor that is usually hard to distinguish, especially this early. This year will be much harder than last year, with the up-and-coming talent that will attempt to make their mark on the NBA this season. Here are my top 4 picks for MIP, along with some honorable mentions.
Dennis Schroder is in the perfect position for an MIP nod. He has performed good, but not great in previous seasons. He has recently gotten the keys to the franchise, controlling the point guard position for the Atlanta Hawks. New arrival Dwight Howard has surprisingly brought a very positive attitude, along with a hard work ethic. Howard and the rest of his teammates, including Paul Millsap, will help make Schroder’s job easy. He is on a team that will surely make the playoffs, with a nice balance of veterans and young players. If Schroder’s production increases along with his minutes, it’s hard to believe that he won’t be a candidate for MIP.
2nd year player and Lakers point guard D’Angelo Russell will have the ball in his hands and no one in his way, which is perfect for MIP candidacy. His rookie year was pretty rocky, especially with the whole Nick Young/Iggy Azalea debacle. Kobe Bryant’s ball-dominant didn’t help him much either. With both of those things out of the way and year under his belt, D’Angelo Russell is guaranteed to grow. How much he grows is the question. The growth of his team is also something that will be taken into consideration when voters cast their MIP votes.
Another promising 2 year player is Devin Booker, who was a candidate for Rookie of the Year after his team’s star player Eric Bledsoe got injured. After Bledsoe got injured, Devin Booker put the Suns on his back, and never looked in that direction. He was great, but not perfect. He still had a lot to learn, as did his entire team. Now, with a that hopefully won’t be injury-prone, he can show what he really can do. We all know that Devin Booker is going to be good, but how good can he be? How much can he improve after just one season playing in the NBA.
The last 2 year player I’ll mention is Pacers center Myles Turner. He was the 11th pick of last year’s draft. Although he didn’t play that much in his rookie year, fans and executives alike started to take notice when he stepped on the floor. Now, after showing all of that potential, can he build on his talents and become something special. This would be the perfect year to do it. His team has gotten better at pretty much every position, and are poised to make a deep playoff run while riding the back of superstar small forward Paul George. If by the end of the year Myles Turner becomes the 2nd best player on this Pacer’s team, the MIP Award is almost guaranteed to be his. This year, he can optimize his impact while his team gets better, making him an easy early bet for MIP.
Because of the unpredictability of this award, there will be a lot of honorable mentions.