Summer Dreaming: Most Improved Player


VIDEO: Is Giannis Antetokounmpo primed to make an even bigger splash?

Pass the sunblock, turn up the music and bring some more ice for those cold drinks on these hottest days.

While we’re still making notes on our viewing calendar about the best match-ups to watch on the just released NBA schedule for the new season, the fantasy party goes on as we jump into the pool with our five Summer Dreaming candidates for Most Improved Player in 2015.

Send us your picks.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks — The word that best described the “Greek Freak” as a rookie last season was raw. He showed the length, the athleticism, all the physical gifts to one day take the step from bundle of potential to a bonafide star. He’s still young and has plenty of time to mature. But based on the commitment he says he’s willing to make and his performance at Summer League, there might not be anything holding back Antetokounmpo from making that jump quickly. He averaged 17 points, six rebounds, two assists and shot 37 percent from behind the arc in Las Vegas. Now that he’ll have Jabari Parker likely occupying the power forward spot in the Bucks lineup, he’ll be free to run the floor, attack the basket and fill it up from almost anywhere. The Freak Show could take off.


VIDEO: Bradley Beal discusses his breakthrough season and looks ahead to upcoming season

Bradley Beal, Wizards – The improvement from Year One to Year Two was already showing. Then Beal gave us a glimpse of what he can do at the next level when he stepped it up in the first round of the playoffs by averaging 19 points, five rebounds and five assists against the Bulls. Now he and backcourt partner John Wall not only have that valuable experience, but also the sting of being cut from Team USA tryouts this summer as added fuel to the fire. The loss of Trevor Ariza means that Beal will not only have to contribute more on offense, but also make a bigger commitment at the defensive end. A big step up for a breakout season could put the Wizards in the battle at the top of the Eastern Conference.


VIDEO: Anthony Davis’ Top 10 plays of 2013-14

Anthony Davis, Pelicans – Here’s the scary one, because of the high level he’s already achieved, yet the potential is there for Davis to contend for Most Improved and Most Valuable Player at the same time. Turned loose last season by coach Monty Williams, he showed that there are few things he’s not capable of doing in a game, if he can stay healthy. The only real thing lacking was somebody to watch his back. Now the Pelicans have added center Omer Asik as a rim protector and fellow defensive force in the paint and that means Davis can be even freer to move out from the basket to wreak havoc. He’s only 22 years old and the party in the French Quarter has just begun.


VIDEO: Will All-Star weekend become a new home for Victor Oladipo?

Victor Oladipo, Magic — OK, end of the experiment. No more trying to hammer the square peg into the round hole. There will be times and situations when Oladipo can handle the point for short stints. But now that they’ve got rookie Elfrid Payton in the lineup, Orlando’s previous top draft pick can concentrate more on slashing and attacking the basket and doing all of the things that can make him a force. He put up decent numbers in his first year and his turnover rate was quite high. That’s because he was playing an uncomfortable role much of the time. Now you take off the handcuffs, turn him loose and let him fly.


VIDEO: Kemba Walker notches second career triple-double

Kemba Walker, Hornets – On one hand, a guy who averaged nearly 18 points a game last season might not seem a likely candidate for Most Improved. But the third year wasn’t quite the charm for Walker as he had to accommodate the arrival of big man Al Jefferson in the middle. His shooting suffered and there were far fewer times when his offense lit up the scoreboard. The arrival of free agent Lance Stephenson as a fierce defender and good playmaker will create more chances for Walker. The addition of P.J. Hairston, another good shooter from the perimeter, will give him more opportunities for assists, which have been steadily climbing.

31 Comments

  1. wooderson says:

    t ross, JV on the raps, but i think klay thompson is going to be basically unstoppable this year and you put that in with the fact that he already hit the most threes last year and is close to the best defensive guard in the league = klay thompson MIP.

  2. Robert says:

    Watch out for Steve Adams, the NZ big man showed his toughness last season for the thunder, I expect he will get even more minutes and more opportunities in year 2

  3. Titus says:

    The Greek Ho should make bigger strides and become MIP with his improved team

  4. NetJay says:

    Otto Porter, Tony Snell, Eric Gordon, Victor Oladipo, and of course Giannis. These guys will all have a great chance.

  5. WetheNorth says:

    Antony Davis should win M.I.P in my opinion

  6. Maaz says:

    JONAS VALINCIUNAS

  7. brianjboake says:

    Next year’s MIP is Terrence Ross of the Toronto Raptors. I was in attendance at his 51-point explosion. It was no fluke. His playoff performance was a disappointment, but I think he needed to go through it as part of his maturation process.
    TRoss has the highest ceiling of any Raptor since Vince Carter.

  8. Khoras says:

    These guy are sleeping on terrence ross

  9. noodle man says:

    Bosh and Carter-Williams for MDP: Most Disappointing Player.

  10. dustydreamnz says:

    John Henson.

  11. Bob says:

    Looking forward to Charlotte next season. The East is looking bit stronger this year. Miami are going to be ok. The best teams are less about the stars and more about the team. Miami has the nuts and bolts to do well. The Cavs are going to have their ups and downs but star power may prevail. I don’t think LBJ will have a MVP type of season because he will need to sacrifice a lot to make it work. He will probably come out stronger during the playoffs. NY and Brooklyn may be disappointing whilst Washington, Atlanta, Toronto could be consistent.

  12. Spurs Fan St. Thomas says:

    Kawhi Leonard, Kemba, or the Greek Freak!

  13. Kevin Kretch says:

    Cqll me crazy. But I think anthony bennett wins it… I mean it cant be too hard going from 2ppg

  14. Mike says:

    Mozgov maybe

  15. Spurs Fan says:

    Kowaii Leonard will be MIP and All-star too

  16. ko0kiE says:

    maybe derrick favors? it’s about time that he breaks out..

    Anthony Davis is the future.. It wouldn’t suprise me if he can lift the pelicans into that 8th seed in the west.

  17. OKC says:

    Reggie Jackson.

  18. I’m going with Eric Gordon of the Pelicans. If healthy, he can be one of the best players in the game without a doubt.

  19. just one name says:

    Swaggy-P

  20. harriethehawk says:

    This is a no brainer. Kemba Walker. Lance Stephenson is in town and will save the day.

  21. Mark says:

    Michael Carter-Williams not on the list? Two rookies who finished behind him for the ROY are. Who cares that he was playing for a bad Philly team? He’s a talent.

  22. tremill says:

    Bosh Bosh Bosh! Bosh…Bosh Bosh!
    Look his numbers are definitely going to improve. He went from playing with the best player in the world to being number one or two on the team. He is a great player but can he do 20/10 again… maybe…we will see. He has to be more aggressive end of story.

    Jurasic park uthmm.

  23. aces says:

    So you mention the Greek freak and Victor oladipo but not the reigning ROOKIE OF THE YEAR??? MCW is due to make huge improvements in philly this season. He showed tremendous improvement throughout the course of last season as well and had a solid may/april. Other guys I’m expecting big improvement from are rubio and lance Stephenson. I’m also hoping Evan turner can resurrect his career, he’s a talented player and Brad Stevens is a good fit for him

  24. grantstern says:

    How could you guys miss Chris Bosh for this award? Bosh just went from 3rd option to presumed 1st or certainly 2nd option on the 4 time finalists.

    • Trix says:

      Because it’s not so much improvement on Bosh’s part as much as an opportunity to be the alpha dog. He was already really good and put up good numbers from his Toronto days. He already showed how good a player he is and it shouldn’t be considered an improvement if he just went back to doing what he used to do.

    • spguide says:

      For sure Bosh should be in this list, for me he is one of the the most underrated players in the NBA, but now he does not have to sacrifice his game anymore

    • Math says:

      Because this will not mean Bosh has made any improvement, it just means that he got an opportunity to put bigger stats…

    • The Voice Of Reason says:

      You’re confusing MIP with MVP. MIP is about growth and working his way up the NBA ranks. Bosh was the alpha man in Toronto and accepted 3rd (sometimes 4th or 5th) option with the Heat cause of the rest of the guys. Now that Bosh has accepted a $118M deal, forget about showing improvements – Bosh needs to be top 5 on the MVP list. Not saying he will – personally I think Pat Riley was too emotional from Lebron leaving and paid about $30M too much for Bosh. I’m just saying that for what Bosh is getting paid, being MIP is simply not good enough!