Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: Most Improved Player?

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is among the favorites for the Most Improved Player award in the NBA early this season.

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Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s surprise start to the NBA season has shot him up the favorites list when it comes to recognition as the NBA’s Most Improved Player. Earlier this week, we looked at this market and SGA was the second favorite. Heading into Thursday, he is now the outright favorite with bet365 sportsbook.

Odds to win Most Improved Player (Nov. 10th, 2022)

These are the current odds heading into Thursday, November 10th, 2022.

  1. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: +250 (5/2)
  2. Tyrese Maxey: +350 (7/2)
  3. Lauri Markkanen: +550 (11/2)
  4. Tyrese Haliburton: +900 (9/1)
  5. Desmond Bane: +1200 (12/1)

SGA plays for the OKC Thunder, a team that is off to just a 4-7 start this season. The Thunder were active on Wednesday night and Gilgeous-Alexander had a huge game for points. He had 39 but played 46 minutes in a game that went to double overtime. He was a little flat for a secondary statistic in the game, with just 4 rebounds and 4 assists.

SGA has shortened a bit in futures for the NBA’s MVP. He was a 250 to 1 super long shot when we looked at this market on October 30th, 2022. Heading into November 8th, SGA had shortened to 200 to 1 and may shorten further, however, he lacks the big secondary statistic that true MVP favorites always have.

Most Improved Player criteria

The Most Improved Player award is a funny one. There are two sides to it: this season versus last season. The award goes to a player that is deemed to have shown the most improvement between seasons — meaning that it helps you to win the award if you weren’t very effective last year.

Gilgeous-Alexander was not a bad player last season: he averaged 24.5 points per game. If he comes down to Earth a little bit this season, the improvements might start to look marginal. Furthermore, SGA has taken on a lot of minutes for OKC, a team that’s not deep. That could help him with stat padding but it could also lead to injury. Overall, he does not look like a good pick at 5 to 2 in this market.