NBA / Sep 17, 2009 / 1:45 pm

Top 5 Contenders For NBA’s Most Improved Player

Trevor Ariza

After breaking down the contenders for NBA Rookie of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, it’s time to see who will be taking home the trophy for Most Improved Player this upcoming season. While we definitely know some teams that will be improving from last year, what players are going to make that jump?

1. Trevor Ariza, Rockets – With a big contract comes big expectations, and after only averaging 8.9 points in 24.4 minutes a night for the Lakers last year, Ariza will have more than enough opportunity to be the man in Houston. While the Rockets definitely like him for what he brings to the table defensively, replacing Ron Artest, he’ll have to pickup some of the scoring burden too.

2. Yi Jianlian, Nets – The numbers that Yi put up in his first two seasons were almost identical at 8.6 points and 5.3 rebounds playing about 24 minutes a night. But now that he went into beast mode this summer, the Nets have no choice to play him – and he better produce. If Yi can increase those averages (is 20 and 10 out of the question?), he’ll be a lock for MIP this year.

3. Lou Williams, Sixers – As the starting point guard in Philly, it’s time for Sweet Lou to step up. Last year he averaged a respectable 12.8 points, 3.0 assists and 2.0 rebounds in only 23.7 minutes a night. With increased playing time, those numbers should increase as well. If he can become the player we all saw in high school, the League better watch out.

4. Anthony Randolph, Warriors – Of everyone on this list, Randolph has shown the most star potential. From absolutely destroying teams in Summer League to having the occasional breakout game with the Warriors last season, all Randolph needs is a chance to play. Putting up 7.9 points and 5.8 rebounds in only 17.9 minutes a game should give Nellie a reason to give this kid some burn.

5. Courtney Lee, Nets – Since he was traded to the Nets, Lee has been moaning as if he was a franchise player. Now he’ll have the chance to show what he’s talking about as he slides in at the two-guard spot left by the void of Vince Carter. Playing alongside Devin Harris, he’ll have a great playmaker to play off of as Lee guns to become one of the NBA’s elite after averaging only 8.4 points per game last year.

What do you think? Is there anyone else in consideration? Who is going to win?

Follow Aron on Twitter at @the_real_aron.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DIMEMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.

Related Posts with Thumbnails
  • mumadone

    Aaron Brooks

  • Ashlov

    Based on early reports, Mario Chalmers has vastly improved. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him blow up this season.

  • flavur

    Mario Chalmers, Aaron Brooks, Rajon Rondo, Charlie Villanueva all those guys have a shot at it to me

  • Mac22

    Anybody here heard of Lebron making a new movie?

  • Kobeef

    I vote for players who are going to go from bench players to full-time starters. All of these guys are going to get lots of PT and lots of time to show what they have.

    1. Michael Beasley

    2. JR Smith

    3. Ben Gordon

    4. Andrea Bargnani

    5. Charlie Villanueva

  • control

    If Yi goes from the nothing he is in the league to ANYTHING at all, even averaging 14/6, he will be in the All Star game…even though it’s bullshit, I guess it helps to have a billion asians on your jock.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see Bargnani get some talk, he might become a legit 20/10 player maybe.

  • chebs

    jordan farmar

  • nowwhatyo

    russell westbrook and kevin love should be part of the discussion too

  • mess

    Remember this name – CJ Miles…

  • Jake

    I can definately see Ariza as a candidate, and mario chalmers as well. But I think the guy that has the best chance has to be Anthony Randolph. Yes, it was the Summer League and he wasnt playing against real starters but if he plays the way he did he’ll be a lock. Nellie doesnt like playing rookies and that played a large part in him not getting much play time last season. If he plays the way he’s shown glimpses of he’s a lock.

  • http://shaqtus.blogspot.com Lets Go Hawks

    Yes it is out of the question for Yi to average 20 and 10

  • MSkittle

    20 and 10 from Yi?? No way! This award will go to Anthony Randolph.

  • shake&bake

    As a Bulls fan, I hope Ty Thomas is in the discussion.

  • Steve A

    Ariza is a classic case of a role player whose getting overpaid on a team that isn’t close to contending. He’s a 4th option.

  • Taj

    I can see Randolp and Lee blowing up.. Yi will be good for 15 and 7 and Ariza will have too much pressure and wont live up to it!

  • Boombaby

    Yi should practice his cheerleading this year. He’s a bust..

  • Octopus Jonny

    CV31 and Ramon Sessions are definitely candidates…are you watching John Hammond?

  • Mellmeister

    Trevor Ariza would be a great candidate, from the exposure he’ll get from houston plus he’ll fill up the void left by artest. so more shots to go around… and games to be had by the young fellow.

    Yi? he needs to be more aggressive if he wants to come in the 20/10 category… which i’m not sure if he’ll work with.

    Anthony Randolph? this year’s version of marco bellineli.. hyped because of the summer league. he’ll contribute… but not that much to earn him the right to be MIP… watch don nelson at work.

    MIP? T-Mac… hehehehe! The Gingerbread man drives… scores… and turns into crumbs… :P

  • mavs all the way

    1.) Russel Westbrook – it’s his award to lose.
    2.) Anthony Randolph – assuming it’s not all hype.
    3.) Mario Chalmers – assuming he’s sober.

  • isotope

    Yeah I think theres too much hype about Randolph. Kelvin Cato once had an amazing summer league and training camp for the Rockets. So they signed him to a huge contract. sigh. Ariza has potential but I don’t see him doing it. Except he does something totally amazing, he’ll be the 3rd offensive option behind Scola and Brooks.

    Courtney Lee has to fight off Devin Harris and Rafer on the nets. I dont see that happening.

    Never have been impressed with Lou so if he breaks out, he deserves it.

    CJ Miles sounds like a good option if DN gives him PT. Aaron Brooks and Chalmers have nowhere but up to go and are below the radar a little bit.

    Then again this is all guess work. Who knows?

  • doc

    My mizan Thaddeus Young.I witnessed his game firsthand in summerleague and he gonna be unleashed this year.

  • scotsman

    I like Westbrook, Randolph, Lee, Chalmers and Love for this award.

    If Yi puts up anything near 20/10 then i will honestly be totally blown away. Ive been baggin on him all summer, urging the nets to pick up any1 who can start in front of him

  • ProphetGK

    I’m thinking Ariza will win, since not only is he going to vastly improve, like the other candidates, but he is going 2 be the man on the Rockets.. look forward to future Lakers – Rockets matchups…

  • http://allthatjazzbasketball.blogspot.com/ Amar

    MIP will be CJ miles . . .

  • Flip

    Scola, anyone??

  • BCap

    well both lee and yi won’t have breakout seasons

  • The REAL Tyrone

    Ain’t no doubt y’all that Trevor be winnin it this year. Cat’ a real athlete who be hooppin it up real good and got them mad skillz. Cat’s a glass eatin’ monsta who be contributin to them Rockets real good yo.

    True thugs NEVER lie.
    The Real Tyrone

  • Diego

    ^ but does he dish dope dimes?

  • http://dime fan

    Ramon Sessions definitely. I’ve been studying Ronnie Brewer for a while he reminds me of Gerald Wallace transition. Baron Davis healthy watch out. Okafor playing with Chris Paul. Beasley if the Heat get a PG. Gilbert Arenas goes bananas and has the Wizards as this year Heat. R.Foye is a problem. Mike Miller will regain his touch. McGee is a future problem.

  • fast

    Thad Young should’ve won last year

  • A-Lid

    Michael Beasley, Mario Chalmers, JJ Barea or Chris Douglas-Roberts

  • LakeShow84

    I got nothing but props for Ariza and how he helped us get that ring but on the Rockets he wont have a true post presence and another superstar to take the focus off him.. maybe AFTER next year but Tmac will be rusty and Yao gone.. Scola and Hayes is undersized as well and dont warrant double teams..

    Once you get paid, defenders treat you like you got paid.. They WANT to show you aint worth the money.. The dunks and 3′s all were open shots so its going to be hard for the man to get off with someone in his jersey..

    I think if Michael Beasley gets the burn the kid will produce damn near close to 20/10..

  • LakeShow84

    Oh wait its the NBA!

    Lebron will be MIP.. Along with DPOY and MVP..

  • http://www.btv.com.ph/ sh!tfaced

    Grandpa Greg Oden!!!

    …Even if he don’t dish dope dimes.

  • http://onlydopemusic.com killa kal

    Anthony Randolph babieeee!!!!

    http://onlydopemusic.com

  • spindlest

    Am I the only one who sees Ariza being this season’s James Posey?

  • nobs6669

    courtney lee – nets still has no identity and after the 09 playoff for sure the confidence is up

    tyrus thomas – if he could be consistent like the 09 playoff he is a lock for this award

    mcgee and blatche – one of them will surely breakout this year

    roy hibbert – starting center for indiana.

    corey brewer – john salmons in the making. plus he play defense and we know rambis love it.

    kevin love – a perfect compliment with al jefferson

  • sh!tfaced

    ^^^Kevin LOVE’s perfect compliment is Rudy GAY…

  • nobs6669

    @shitfaced
    nice one for the compliment. lol

  • rw

    you get paid for this? 20 and 10. no chance

  • http://www.nukedasouth.net Chicagorilla

    Beasley, Westbrook, Love, and Ty Thomas

    Anthony Randolph = Nikolus Skitishvilli or however you spell that shit. Skeeta used to dominate the summer Leagues, then avg 4ppg in the real league.

  • doc

    Ariza is about to be on milk cartons.

  • M Intellect

    The only 20 and 10 Yi will average is 20 minutes and 10 points.

  • osmosis

    Darko milicic is going to break out

  • Joseph Stevens

    CHARLIE VILLANUEVA IS ON THE TOP OF THE LIST. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? CV WAS A CANDIDATE FOR MOST IMPROVE PLAYER AWARD THIS YEAR, AND NOW PLAYING MORE THAN 30min+, HE WILL DOMINATE IN DETROIT. WITNESS OR DIE TRYING. TOP 5 WITHOUT A DOUBT.

  • redwoods

    Randolph had shown plenty before summer ball, was averaging around 16/12 late season when he got to actually PLAY full starter minutes. Over the summer…grew to 7-0 and added 15+ lb while working hard on his game.
    Ike Diogu someday will actually get more minutes and less injuries. His per min numbers actually reflect the impact he CAN make.

    Ariza has made some progress yet still is a defensive specialist who can’t score much. He had something of a breakout last year.

    I’d agree McGee or Blatche can breakout with the Wiz..but Blatche seemed ready to step up for the last 3 yr….

    Beasley is a safe pick. A bit of an airhead but has the talent to put up big numbers.
    If S Jackson gets swapped, Anthony Morrow will have a big year….rare shooter talent and a good overall player.

    Yi? I expect more scoring but don’t hold your breath that he becomes a defense+ reb guy.

    Speights can be a breakout if he plays some D.
    Tyrus Thomas? Too Clueless but Noah will become a more complete player.

  • alan9449

    Anthony Randolph was abig deal before summer league. I watched every excrutiating game last year, and this guy is gonna be a star. Think kevin Garnett before he hit the Celtics. If you think I’m crazy, watch some Warriors games.