2023 NBA Most Improved Player: Will it be Lauri Markkanen or Shai Gilgeous-Alexander?

2023 NBA Most Improved Player

Two NBA players have emerged as potential winners of the 2023 NBA Most Improved Player of the year award. It’s a very close fight between Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen and Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Both have heavily improved their level of play and become first-time All-stars this year. That being said, who will be this year’s MIP? Will it be Shai or will it be Lauri?

PLAYER COMPARISON

Looking closely at the two stars’ stats from last season, they have significantly bumped their numbers this year. Lauri was a mere role player in the Cavs last season, while SGA was already peeking out the window as a potential all-star. With the huge jump in their numbers, Lauri Markkanen was arguably the more surprising one. In addition, Utah Jazz was supposed to be rebuilding and tanking this year, but instead, he is leading them to the 10th seed. That isn’t bad for a team that has lost two of its superstars namely Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert.

LAURI MARKKANEN (2021-2022) SHAI GILGEOUS-ALEXANDER (2021-2022)
14.8 PPG 24.5 PPG
1.3 APG 5.9 APG
5.7 RPG 5.0 RPG
0.7 SPG 1.3 SPG
0.5 BPG 0.8 BPG
44.5 FG% 45.3 FG%
35.8 3-point FG% 30.0 3-point FG%
Cleveland Cavaliers record (44-38, 9th in the East) OKC Thunder record (24-58, 14th in the West)

 

LAURI MARKKANEN (2022-2023) SHAI GILGEOUS-ALEXANDER (2021-2023)
25.2 PPG 31.0 PPG
1.8 APG 5.7 APG
8.6 RPG 4.7 RPG
.6 SPG 1.6 SPG
.6 BPG 1.1 BPG
51.4  FG% 50.7 FG%
40.1 3-point FG% 33.8 3-point FG%
Utah Jazz record (30-31, 10th in the West) OKC Thunder record (28-31, 11th in the West)

 

However, if we are talking about averages and total output, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is averaging a ridiculous 31 points per game this season.

There are only six players averaging more than 30 points in the NBA today, and that already includes SGA. In support of this statement, Ja Morant won the 2021-2022 MIP award after a huge jump in point average (from 19.1 to 27.4) despite Ja already being known to be a superb athlete before this award. Furthermore, Shai is building a case for an MVP season as of late with how consistent he has been for Oklahoma City. So, it wouldn’t be surprising if he wins the MIP award at the conclusion of the 2022-2023 season.

MIP Odds

It’s truly magnificent that the odds are also extremely close. Various betting sites and basketball websites have been on the lookout for how great the chances are for Lauri Markkanen and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to win the MIP this year.

Sports Betting Dime

SportsBettingDime

 

Sporting News

SportingNews

Draft Kings Nation

DKNation

Conclusion

Truly, it’s a tight match and we wouldn’t be bad if either of the two gets to be named this year’s Most Improved Player. With Shai’s high ceiling and potential, Oklahoma City Thunder’s franchise player is just right under their noses. He is already a legitimate all-star and could be the centerpiece the Thunder have been looking for after the Russel Westbrook era. On the other hand, Lauri has found a home in Utah. Although he has shown flashes of greatness during his rookie and sophomore seasons in Chicago, it is in Utah where he was able to showcase his abilities.

But, if we are going to pick, it must be Lauri Markkanen. His performance would justify the very definition of the award. Not only has he greatly improved from last season, he was also named a first-time All-Star this season, a starter even.


Do you agree with our take? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. For more content, stay with us, here at Spiel Times.

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