Why Michael Porter Jr. Should Win the Most Improved Award
Another NBA season is here, and people have seen their favorite stars return to the hardwood. The preseason has officially concluded, and the official rosters are set. That leaves the media just one thing to cover as the regular season begins to unfold. Who is going to walk away with the yearly awards next summer?
While the Most Valuable Player, Defensive Player of the Year, and Rookie of the Year discussions always fluctuate. The Most Improved Player Award appears to already be somewhat of a sure thing. After a late push to try and surpass New York’s Julius Randle, Michael Porter of the Denver Nuggets fell short of this honor last season. Now, with a brand new extension and another great off-season under his belt, Porter Jr. is highly favored to win the award this season.
As long as he can stay healthy, the Most Improved Player award will be his to lose. While that might sound a little cocky, let’s just take a look at some of the advantages Porter Jr. has going into this next season.
Helping Cover for a Missing Jamal
Jamal Murray tore his ACL back in April against the Golden State Warriors. Before then, the Nuggets were highly considered a favorite to represent the Western Conference in the 2021 NBA Finals. Fast-forward to this upcoming season. The Denver Nuggets will be a title contender this year, once Jamal Murray returns. Until then, they’re going to have to try and survive a very competitive Western Conference.
Surely, they will be able to lean on reigning MVP, Nikola Jokic. However, if they want any chance of reaching their ultimate goal of being the NBA Champions, they are going to need some more guys to step up. Most notably, they will need Michael Porter Jr. to take a big step forward this season. If he can play like the All-NBA caliber player they know he can be, the Nuggets will be fine.
Michael Porter Jr. is going to be the Nugget’s second option this year. He is going to get his opportunity to take upwards of 18-20 shots a night. If he can produce with his average level of efficiency, Porter Jr. has the capabilities to contend for a scoring title. If Porter Jr. finds himself in that end-of-year discussion, he should easily be crowned the Most Improved Player.
Benefits of Playing Alongside the MVP
It is no secret that any teammate of Nikola Jokic benefits from the Joker’s innate passing ability. Jokic has an amazing knack for passing his teammates into open shots time and time again. Luckily for him, Michael Porter Jr. might be one of the best perimeter shooters in the league, so the two together become a lethal combo.
Nikola Jokic averages roughly eight to nine assists a night. His dominance in the paint commands double teams on each possession. Frankly, he is the focal point of every defensive scouting report. Knowing that he will continue to look for players ready to capitalize on mismatches. Those players include Porter Jr., who will feast with all the kick-out threes. If Porter Jr. can continue to shoot over 40 percent from deep, his points per game will definitely exceed 20 ppg. More than enough to take home that most improved player of the year award.
A Constant Offensive Mismatch
Michael Porter Jr. stands six feet, ten inches tall, and has quite a nice bit of air on his jump shot. Anyone who is tall enough to contest his jump shot regularly is too slow to stay with him on the perimeter. Inversely, those who are quick enough to stay in front of him do not have the length to effectively contest his jump shots. Basically, he’s a walking mismatch when he gets into his jump shot.
There is not a player in the league that Porter Jr. cannot get a shot over. As long as he takes his shots with confidence, he is going to be as effective on the offensive side of the ball as any superstar in this league. Showing out on like that will easily allow him to showcase enough of his skillset to make him deserving of the most improved player award.
Overall, Michael Porter Jr. is going to have the perfect opportunity to produce at an All-NBA level. He is going to be the guy who Nikola Jokic relies on to help carry the offensive load. If Porter Jr. can produce effectively and efficiently, the award will be his to lose.
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images