No one really knows the criteria, so it’s never simple to predict who will receive the Most Improved Player award. Ja Morant of the Memphis Grizzlies, who was always projected to be an All-Star, won it last year, whereas Poole, who went from the G League to averaging 18.5 points per game for a team that won the title, came in fourth place.
The prospects for this season often include gifted athletes who will have greater opportunities, such as Tyrese Maxey of the Philadelphia 76ers, Jalen Brunson of the New York Knicks and Tyrese Haliburton of the Indiana Pacers.
Most Improved Player
NBA basketball is a team sport, yet it’s unusual in that one player may have a significant impact. Only four or five times every game may Aaron Judge take the plate. If his receivers are unable to find openings, Patrick Mahomes has no one to throw to. He doesn’t play defence, too. But in the NBA, a single player can control large portions of the match by himself, which is why superstars are so powerful and earn such high wages.
All of the award races going into the 2022–23 season feature several logical contenders, including MVP. Voter weariness makes it likely that Nikola Jokic won’t win for a third consecutive season, but that could easily change if he helps the Denver Nuggets secure the top seed in the crowded Western Conference. Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers is an obvious contender to win the award this year since he served as the bridesmaid the previous two seasons. However, he will face tough opposition from both players we anticipate and at least a few surprise dark horses.
Since winning isn’t exactly a goal for most of their clubs, this season’s Rookie of the Year may be any number of first-year players. Rookie of the Year typically boils down to which great young players receive the most opportunities. The discussion about whether Paolo Banchero, the first choice in the draught and Chet Holmgren, the second pick, would have engaged in a duel throughout the season has been put on hold due to Holmgren’s foot ailment.
Probably Defensive Player of the Year has the fewest viable contenders for the title. Rudy Gobert may win the prize for the fourth time if he can move the Minnesota Timberwolves into the top five in defensive efficiency. The Miami Heat have consistently supported Bam Adebayo in the past and Phoenix Suns wing Mikal Bridges is one of the few perimeter players with a good chance to win DPOY.
Sixth Man of the Year winners are often bucket-getters, which places Tyler Herro of the Miami Heat and Jordan Poole of the Golden State Warriors near the top of any list. However, Malcolm Brogdon of the Boston Celtics is another contender who doesn’t quite suit the position of a pure scorer. Yes, he can score goals, but if he receives the award, it will likely be for his leadership of the second unit on both ends of the field.
Another challenging one to predict is Coach of the Year, which often goes to the coach whose team performs the best. Coaches like Willie Green of the New Orleans Pelicans might win the award if their team improved significantly from the previous year’s rankings and Chris Finch of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Nick Nurse of the Toronto Raptors could also win for their ingenuity.
The Cleveland Cavaliers, Atlanta Hawks and Minnesota Timberwolves all made significant offseason changes, making this year’s battle for Executive of the Year extremely competitive. But not always do the huge splashes bring home the gold. It may be just as crucial to make little adjustments, as Brad Stevens and Daryl Morey did with the 76ers and the Celtics, respectively.
All of these accolades were predicted by our CBS Sports NBA experts for the 2022–23 season and the fact that no choice was made unanimously illustrates how competitive the races were.