Regarding sports, discussions about the most improved player and the one that has lacked behind always come into the conversation. And the same goes for the NBA, the most loved basketball league worldwide. It comprises thirty teams, so the competition to be the most improved NBA player of 2023 is tough.
However, deciding the real winner of the title is a task on its own too. The process can be backhanded and less exact. Like other NBA awards, the criteria determining an award’s nomination are uncertain. The Most Improved Player or MIP award also dangles between greatness and mediocrity.
Great NBA players and full Hall of Fame caliber stars like Ja Morant, Tracy McGrady, Paul George, and Giannis Antetokounmpo have all received MIP—finally, other players Aaron Brooks, Gheorghe Muresan, and Alan Henderson.
For example, Lauri Markkanen, a Finnish professional basketball player, is on top of the list of getting the award of the most improved player 2023. Markkanen, a Utah Jazz Forward, showed a promising career in Salt Lake City. If he wins the award, he will be the first to get the George Mikan Trophy rebranded. Like Lauri, there are many others too.
Although Lauri Markkanen is inevitably the Most Improved Player NBA 2023, FanDuel suggests that Shai Gilgeous-Alexander could be a top competitor. So, let us look at our ranking of Most Improved Player NBA 2023. We are sure that you will agree with us.
Most Improved Player NBA 2023 Candidates
7) De’Aaron Fox of the Sacramento Kings
The Sacramento Kings’ De’Aaron Fox is as cunning and agile as his name. In addition, our candidate for the most improved player in 2023, Fox, also is the frontrunner for the NBA’s Inaugural Clutch Player of the Year Award. The Sacramento Kings are at the forefront of this year’s playoffs because Fox has a top of shooting 54.8% in the clutch, making the team’s total clutch points way higher. Now the Kings stand at a 21-13 in clutch games. So, no wonder De’Aaron Fox is on our most improved player NBA 2023 list.
In early 2023, when the Kings only had 2-5 points in the clutch, Fox boosted their score at the tie game at the Amway Center, where they won a nail-biting match against the Orlando Magic. Then the Kings won nine games after their great win against the Orlando Magic. These wins led them to the top three spots in the Western Conference standings.
6) Markelle Fultz of the Orlando Magic
When discussing success stories of the NBA, the name of Markelle Fultz always comes to mind. Fultz entered the NBA during the 2017 NBA Draft as a highly anticipated selection. But he hasn’t had it easy. At the same time, the press surrounded Markelle in Philadelphia with rumors, injuries, and turmoil that had made him hopeless. But now Fultz is one of the best two-way point guards for the glorious Orlando Magic basketball team.
Since his last all-star game, Fultz has had a stat of 6.3 assists, 4.0 rebounds, and 16.5 points. Also, the once Orlando Magic team, which stood at 5-20 at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, is now rejuvenated, all thanks to Markelle Fultz. He is a fantastic two-way playmaking point guard and has surpassed the mighty Ben Simmons, who stands at 6 feet 10 inches and 109 kg.
5) Mikal Bridges of the Brooklyn Nets
Brooklyn Nets star player, Mikal Bridges, is on his way to playing eighty-three games for 2023. Heart as strong-willed as Iron Man, Bridges has played all his games at Villanova. In addition, no one could miss his presence in all his games against the Phoenix Suns.
Ever since the Brooklyn Nets traded Mikal in, he has played all of its games. Also, with the rebuilding for the sudden mid-season, Mikal has become the centerpiece for Brooklyn Nets. Although fans didn’t appreciate Mikal’s trade from the Phoenix Suns to the Brooklyn Nets, he has proven himself by showing his ball-dominant skills. Chris Paul also tried to undermine Mikal’s scoring and shot-creating skills. No wonder he is on the list of most improved NBA 2023 candidates.
Kevin Durant, for whom the Brooklyn Nets traded Bridges, also has the same playing style as him. In addition, to him being a great on-ball defense player, Bridges has improved his three-point shooter and shooting splits. Also, he is the best perimeter defender in the NBA league. Finally, Bridges is an emerging best two-way player.
4) Tyrese Haliburton of the Indiana Pacers
Some might consider Tyrese Haliburton the best player in the NBA league now. And this title isn’t just given to him; he has earned it. Haliburton has emerged as the best pure point scorer in all his games; he has a staggering 10.4 assists per game. In addition, the basketball gods have blessed him with an excellent basketball IQ and court vision that can make anybody watching him proud.
Tyrese Haliburton not only has the knowledge but the skills too. His quick-trigger three-point stroke with fantastic range makes his shot-creating and shooting skills defenseless to his enemies. Some say that watching his game makes them feel the essence of the modern NBA, and if the Indiana Pacers can support Tyrese further, he can lead them to the playoffs on his own soon. Finally, Haliburton makes it to our list of most improved NBA players in 2023.
3) Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of the Oklahoma City Thunder
A one-person army Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has single handedly brought Oklahoma City Thunder from the bottom of the NBA standings to the exciting playoff hunt in the Wild West. With an incredible height of 6 feet and 11 inches, SGA might not have a genuinely excellent position in the NBA, but he is the purest two-guard because of his great stats. In addition, he is a perfect off-ball scorer and a self-sufficient isolation scorer.
Other NBA players assisted 29 percent of SGA’s shots in the 2019-20 league when he played with NBA legends Chris Paul and Dennis Schroder on the surprise playoff team. At the 2019-20 NBA playoffs, SGA was at the ninety-fourth percentage ASTD%. Additionally, the ASTD% was for all three realms, three-point line, mid-range, and rim. He was good for the entire league, especially for the second among wings. There is no question that Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is on our prediction list of the most improved players in NBA 2023.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander stands next to Josh Giddey, a triple-double threat, at the NBA rankings. In 2022, SGA was the league’s premier scoring threat. Even in 2023, Shai has shown excellent efficiency and volume, leaving behind all the other players having a 30+ points average per game.
2) Jalen Brunson of the New York Nicks
Many fans were upset when New York Nicks did not perform well in the 2021-22 season. However, to break down its degrading slump Jalen Brunson, their star player, has fueled the team to start its success journey. The New York Nicks had lost its luster since the Tom Thibodeau and Julius Randle era, but Brunson has filled the team’s gap. He has become an All-Star caliber playmaking point guard for the team.
Way before the 2021 and 2022 seasons, Brunson has been the best guard for the Nicks since Jeremy Lin in 2012. And now, when the Nicks are going for a playoff against top NBA hero teams for the top four in the Eastern Conference, Jalen would be a need for their team if they want to win. Therefore, he is on our most-improved NBA player list for 2023.
1) Lauri Markkanen of the Utah Jazz
For the Utah Jazz, Lauri Markkanen has been a Messiah ever since he made his all-star appearance after the Utah Jazz offseason, in which they sold almost all of their main pieces to start a team rebuild. Also, in terms of trading in players or getting a new one, Jazz has always been lucky, hitting the jackpot every time.
For example, when Deron Williams left, Gordon Hayward was an all-star for the Utah Jazz. Then, when Gordon Hayward left Jazz for the Celtics, Donovan Mitchell’s hall of fame started. However, in 2023 when the Utah Jazz traded Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell for an unprecedented haul of draft capital, the Jazzs got Lauri Markkanen.
After his draft, Markkanen has been adding numbers to his career, which is only going up. During the EuroBasket tournament in the offseason, he scored 27.9 points per game. In addition to the impressive points, he has a record of 8.1 rebounds. A changed man, Lauri has finally come out into the world after years of suffocating under the Jim Boylen era of Bulls basketball. Finally, now we can call him the king of NBA basketball dunks.