Top Five Candidates for NBA Most Improved Player 2024 | Tyrese Maxey and Mikal Bridges Are Ready To Take That Next Step

Now that summer league is over you might be thinking to yourself, “Where am I going to get my fix of NBA action?” While you have to wait until October for regular-season games to begin, your social media feeds will be filled with player mixtapes and footage from the famed Los Angeles pro open gym runs. All that got us thinking: Who will be the leading candidates for “Most Improved” player?

5. Scottie Barnes, Toronto Raptors

We hesitate to mention lottery picks, especially top-five picks who were just drafted a couple years ago. But Barnes had a dip in efficiency, and his overall effectiveness was not strongly felt. The team was bad, and that’s not Barnes’ fault. 

He has a new head coach in Darko Rajaković, and the team wants the ball in Barnes’ hand as a point forward/wing initiator. That process won’t be smooth, but if he can reach some of his potential this season that could unlock the Raptors.

4. Alperen Sengun, Houston Rockets

A favorite of the NBA hipster set, Sengun possesses excellent feel and his shooting is improving. He jumped five points per game in scoring average between his rookie and sophomore seasons. 

New head coach Ime Udoka is going to be hard on Sengun and the young Rockets, especially on the defensive end. But if he can compete on that end and do all the things to help the team win possessions he will have a nice year. 

3. Cam Johnson, Brooklyn Nets 

The 3&D wing just signed a four-year, $108 million extension with Brooklyn this offseason. In just a small sample size, Nets fans saw the chemistry he and Mikal Bridges have and what that could mean for this Nets team. 

Johnson is playing for Team USA this summer in the FIBA World Cup. International summer ball has been known to be a springboard for players as they head into the regular season. Could this be the case for Johnson?

2. Tyrese Maxey, Philadelphia 76ers

Through his first three years in the league he’s steadily improved. He already has four 30-point playoff games in his short career. There is a huge James Harden elephant in the Philadelphia locker room to remove. If and when it does go, Maxey might explode. 

He’s an elite shooter, races with and without the ball, and is effective on ball and off ball on the move. If new head coach Nick Nurse, who has a lot to prove, can connect with Maxey and Embiid this could be franchise-changing. 

1. Mikal Bridges, Brooklyn Nets

Bridges went from a 3&D player on a title contender in Phoenix to the No. 1 option on a team fighting to hold on to a top-six playoff seed. Bridges dazzled for the Nets to close out the rest of the regular season. In the playoffs he learned some tough lessons on what it’s like being a team’s No. 1.

The expanded role in Brooklyn showed parts of his game many didn’t know were present. He will be a part of Team USA this summer at the FIBA World Cup. Playing under Team USA head coach Steve Kerr’s beautiful ball and player movement offense will add another set of skills to an already expanding arsenal.

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