NBA award ballots: MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, and more

Joel Embiid, Sixers (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images)
Joel Embiid, Sixers (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

NBA award ballots: Most Improved Player

Christopher Kline

  1. Tyrese Maxey, PHI
  2. Ja Morant, MEM
  3. Darius Garland, CLE

This is a change of stance for me, as for the longest time I had Ja Morant penciled into the top spot. He made the superstar leap after missing the All-Star game last season. That’s the hardest and most important leap to make. That said, I’ve done some self-reflection and I’m no longer limited by the self-imposed, needlessly applied “no second-year players” rule that isn’t really a rule that has governed so many Most Improved votes over the years. Tyrese Maxey is the most improved NBA player, and I am no longer afraid to admit it.

Last season, Maxey was a fun but unreliable bench guard who couldn’t hang on defense. He leaned too much on the floater, avoided contact at the rim, and was a gun-shy, subpar 3-point shooter. This season, he’s one of the best 3-point shooters in the NBA, a truly gifted finisher at the cup, and one of the most dynamic offensive weapons for a title contender. Maxey has taken his “improve one percent every day” mantra to heart, and his unmatched work ethic continues to pay dividends.

Lucas Johnson

  1. Jordan Poole, GSW
  2. Miles Bridges, CHA
  3. Tyrese Maxey, PHI

The Most Improved Player award goes to Jordan Poole, although both Miles Bridges and Tyrese Maxey were close in consideration. When we did our awards on The Sixer Sense Podcast, I had Bridges winning the award but looking closer at Jordan Poole’s resumé, I had to give it to him.

Poole’s points per game jumped by 6.5 from last season to this season. It can be argued he’s the third “Splash Brother” next to Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. It can be argued for most of this season he’s been the Golden State Warriors’ second best player.