2021-22 NBA Most Improved Player Betting Odds: Zion Williamson, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Early Favorites
Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans.
2021-22 NBA Most Improved Player Betting Odds:
Odds via BetMGM
|Michael Porter Jr.||+750|
|Kevin Porter Jr.||+900|
|Jaren Jackson Jr.||+1600|
|Gary Trent Jr.||+10000|
|Derrick Jones Jr.||+12500|
The NBA’s Most Improved Player award (MIP) is always one of the hardest ones to predict, with a strong candidate usually emerging seemingly out of nowhere in the middle of the regular season.
The 2021 winner, for example, was New York Knicks’ forward Julius Randle. Denver’s duo of Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. was getting a lot of preseason love for the award, and then Randle stormed in and had an All-NBA season on the way to leading the Knicks back to the postseason, easily winning MIP.
For the 2021-22 season, Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Pelicans forward Zion Williamson open as +700 favorites to win.
The aforementioned Michael Porter Jr. is third at +750, with Kevin Porter Jr. (+900), Zach LaVine (+1200), Collin Sexton (+1200) and Christian Wood (+1400) rounding out the top-five odds.
Zion Williamson is the favorite for MIP likely because despite being a favorite of the public, he lost the 2020 Rookie of the Year due to his limited availability. Since voters are already fond of Williamson, it is conceivable that all he would need to do is improved upon his robust 2021 statistics to easily take home the MIP award.
Gilgeous-Alexander is a favorite because after putting up an impressive 23.7 points per game (PPG) with next to no scoring help, he will somehow have even less offensive support in the 2022 season. There is a strong possibility we see the young Canadian guard yet again put up a career-high scoring average.
Michael Porter Jr. will have a much higher offensive workload in Denver due to the long-term injury suffered by franchise point guard Jamal Murray.
Kevin Porter Jr. could have the best all-around season of his young career with an exciting Houston team embracing the youth movement, with Christian Wood acting as his best pick-and-roll partner.
LaVine and Sexton are both with Eastern Conference Central division teams that will be hard-pressed to show improvement after several woeful seasons.
LaVine is coming off of a season in which he was in the top-10 in the NBA in PPG and now has easily the most talented team of his career with Chicago’s offseason additions. Sexton—who will likely continue to be the target of trade rumors in Cleveland—is also coming off of a career-high scoring season and will be playing with two impact bigs in Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley.