2022-23 NBA Most Improved Player Odds Update: Lock it Up For Lauri?

Jazz Star Leads Gilgeous-Alexander and Brunson By A Bit

NBA Odds Heavily Favor  To Win ‘MIP’

If the 2022-23 NBA Most Improved Player odds hold up, Lauri Markannen will “restore balance” to the award. It was controversial when voters gave Grizzlies superstar Ja Morant the award last season. But Markkanen, a former lottery pick now on his third NBA team, has blossomed into a bonafide star. Nobody saw that coming as he now holds a commanding lead to win the award on the odds board at -450.

Markannen and “SGA” in Similar Spots

Outside of the wide 2022-23 NBA Most Improved Player odds, Markannen and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (SGA) are in similar positions: they are looking to get into the playoffs as play-in teams. Currently, the Jazz and Thunder are 10th and ninth in the NBA standings. If this holds, they will play each other to stay in the playoff hunt. This is likely why Markannen is not at all focused on winning the award.

“That’s some extra motivation, but I’m not thinking about it,” Markannen toldEurohoops. “I talked about the responsibility, and I’m enjoying the challenge, and if those individual goals happen if we keep winning games and I keep doing my thing. I go daily to keep working, and I hope that happens, but we’ll see.”

The Jazz are doing much better than expected after trading away its two stars Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell. The team has already blown past its preseason regular-season win totals of 23.5.

Markannen was the main piece in the Mitchell deal from Cleveland. He has put up career-high numbers: 25.4 points and 8.6 rebounds while shooting 50.3 percent. He’s scored the 15th-most points in the league per the NBA player stats.

Markannen is the main reason why Utah is still in the race the same way SGA is for Oklahoma City. The Thunder are also significantly improved and no longer a rebuilding squad. Like Utah, the team already went way over its modest 23.5 regular-season win totals set during the preseason.

Gilgeous-Alexander, like Markannen, became a first-time All-Star this season. He’s averaging 31.4 points on an absurd 51.1 percent shooting from the field. Add 5.5 boards and a combined 2.7 steals and blocks and he has been a nightmare for opposing teams. He’s lined at +400 to win Most Improved Player.

But shrewd bettors could look at the Thunders’ remaining NBA games schedule and find it is the fifth-easiest. In comparison, Utah has the second-hardest and Markannen is hurting.

If Gilgeous-Alexander goes on a tear and the Thunder actually get into the top six of the West, he may just sway the online odds.

Brunson Has New York Excited Again

Jalen Brunson is the third contender in the Most Improved Player race. But at 11-1 on the 2022-23 NBA Most Improved Player odds, he is unlikely to win. Still, he’s elevated Knicks basketball back to where it has the city dreaming again. The Knicks are currently in the fifth seed and have been the fifth-best team in the NBA since the New Year.

The fifth-year pro is averaging 23.8 points and 6.2 assists while hitting 41.3 percent of his 3-point attempts (4.7 a game). Not only are all of these career highs, but Brunson has maintained his efficiency.

He is still just averaging two turnovers a game so his assist-to-turnover ratio is still 3-1 as it was in his seasons in Dallas.

“It’s really dope for me to see, obviously, knowing him since 2013, watching his progression, watching him grow just as a friend,” Josh Hart, Brunson’s teammate now and with Villanova back in college, told the New York Post. “It’s amazing cause I’ve seen the work behind the scenes. And he knows this, and I have the most respect for him as almost any NBA guy or basketball player in general because he continues to grind, continues to work.”

Even if Brunson won’t win the award, he’ll be a finalist at the least. And most importantly, he’s a cornerstone in the Knicks’ foundation – one which is promising and expected to produce consistent seasons of playoff basketball.

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