They have exploded this year, reaching a new level, their names are now stuck among the League’s elite, candidates for the title of Most Improved Player or, in good French, most improved players. Our first ranking saw the triumph of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, is it the same to start this year in 2023?
(Statistics as of January 4)
# Records injuries
We’re considering them, but it’s hard to put Desmond Bane or Tyrese Maxey on this list. Great performances from both sides but lots of injuries on the clock. You’ll probably need an impeccable health record to give yourself a competitive chance.
#10 – Kevin Huerter (starter)
Kevin Huerter, who was traded to Sacramento this summer, is becoming a favorite among Kings fans. Saktown’s official sniper, “Kéké”, is the perfect partner for De’Aaron Fox, who has certainly progressed from a distance, but is particularly effective at absorbing gaps. Defenders ready to fire on a trigger like Huerter know they can’t do anything. Career highs, high percentages, high collective results, the former Falcon’s new life in California is a dream for now. The guy even got compliments from a certain man…Kevin Durant, who compared him to the Splash Brothers. That’s a nice definition.
2021-22 stats: 12.1 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 45% shooting, including 39% from long range
2022-23 stats: 15.6 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.1 steals, 48% shooting, including 42% from distance
#9 – Nic Claxton (starter)
Another new one for our ball and we could see it for a while. Nic Claxton, who was extended by the Nets last summer, is currently proving that Sean Marks made the right decision. With excellent defensive ability, the youngster, who can move from the 1st position to the 5th, has his teeth open as he already envisions himself in the DPOY race. Maybe a little pretentious, but appetite comes with food, and he has what it takes to try and win a statuette. It should be noted that at the offensive level, the pivot has also grown with small movements in the post, more initiatives and real efficiency under the circle. The latest example: a wonderful masterclass during the strike against the Greek Freak Bucks.
Stats in 2021-22: 8.7 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.1 blocks, 67% shooting.
Stats in 2022-23: 11.9 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.5 blocks, 74% shooting.
#8 – Devin Vassell (+1)
We leave the teams celebrating at the top of their conference to go see in the shallows, and we find great treasures there too. If San Antonio’s future is to go with a high pick in the next draft (Wemby?), the talent is already there with Keldon Johnson at Fort Alamo, along with the talented Devin Vassell. The swingman is loving his new duties in Texas and is taking the opportunity to show us his skills night in and day out. Not always regularly, but you should record the work done. It’s not enough to offer San Antonio a few wins, but it’s at least enough to please a fan base that can count on the youth’s progress to keep them smiling.
2021-22 stats: 12.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 43% shooting, including 36% from long range
Stats in 2022-23: 19.4 points, 4 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.2 steals, 45% shooting, including 40% from long range
#7 – Jalen Brunson (+1)
New York, rock bottom last year, had the good idea to bet on Jalen Brunson during the last Free Agency period, and the leader continues to respond. What’s new in a month? Far more presented percentages, but also a less good period during the holidays, some less good performances (like the said team) and especially the first injuries that came. Nothing to worry about compared to what we’ve seen so far, it’s still just as solid.
2021-22 stats: 16.3 points, 3.9 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 50% shooting, including 37% from long range
Stats in 2022-23: 20.3 points, 3.2 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 46% shooting, including 37% from long range
#6 – Alperen Sengun (+1)
Eric Gordon can tell the press that the Rockets have no progress, we have to force him to lie. Alperen Sengun took a step forward after the departure of Christian Wood and his inclusion among the owners. Despite slightly less flashy stats than last month, the Turkish center remains one of the nice (but also rare) pleasures of the season in Texas. Hands full of talent, huge room for improvement and only… 20 years old. If he keeps up his momentum, his future looks bright.
2021-22 stats: 9.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1 block, 47% shooting
Stats in 2022-23: 14.4 points, 8.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1 block, 55% shooting
#5 – Bowl Bowl (+1)
He pushes the weirdness to the Orlando side, and we’re not just talking about the Paolo Banchero phenomenon. Bol Bol, which comes at the tip of the leg, convinces everyone of its potential. Height, mobility, shooting, defending, great qualities with the ball in hand, quite a stylish combination for a 2m18 guy! The boy is very tall, look at those long arms. So what’s that dunk in Space Jam during the holidays? If it develops to its full potential, watch out!
repeat angle 😳 pic.twitter.com/T80qDeLckF
-Orlando Magic (@OrlandoMagic) December 29, 2022
Stats in 2021-22: 2.4 points, 1.4 rebounds, 56% shooting, including 25% from long range.
Stats in 2022-23: 12 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.6 against, 59% shooting, including 39% from long range.
#4 – Anfernee Simons (=)
The Blazers favorite is still hot in the Top 4, it’s hard to imagine him leaving anytime soon. The main fault of the boy is not talent, but rather regularity. Know how to manage even evenings without him to avoid giving up 58% 38 points in a shootout one evening and 11 points the next day on 6/19. It’s a detail he’ll always have time to brush off, but the bottom line is that he’s been able to succeed CJ McCollum without his elder’s shadow weighing heavily on him. Damian Lillard found himself a worthy new assistant in the backcourt.
Stats in 2021-22: 17.3 points, 3.9 assists, 2.6 rebounds, 44% shooting, including 41% from long range.
Stats in 2022-23: 22.6 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds, 44% shooting, including 38% from long range.
#3 – Lauri Markkanen (=)
He’s still out there, lovable Finn is lovable Finn, and in time, we think he’ll be the Jazz’s home representative at the next All-Star game. If Utah’s classification can clearly complicate the situation, the blonde still gives reason to believe in himself. The winger has averaged more than 30 points since the votes opened! The problem is, the Jazz have won just two of seven games in this streak, leaving the Top 8 in the West… It’s not enough to blame the Scandinavians, and we’ve seen that in recent years. Anyway, we strongly believe in it.
2021-22 stats: 14.8 points, 5.7 rebounds, 45% shooting, including 36% from long range
Stats in 2022-23: 23.9 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 53% shooting and 42% from distance.
#2 – Tyrese Haliburton (=)
If you’re wondering who to watch early in the night, check out the Pacers, you’ll rarely be disappointed. 20+ points, 10 rebounds, all while shooting almost 50/40/90 (49/41/88 to be exact), Tyrese Haliburton gave us an XXL season and we just have to see the list of NBA players. they shot a season at 20/10 to make it happen. It’s a very select club and if he keeps up the momentum, the leader will be a part of it. We currently have him in second place and the leader will probably have to settle down a bit to hope for better. Not a winner…
2021-22 stats: 17.5 points, 9.6 assists, 4.3 rebounds, 50% shooting, including 42% from long range
Stats in 2022-23: 20.7 points, 10.1 assists, 3.9 rebounds, 49% shooting, including 41% from long range
#1 – Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (=)
As for the top seed, it’s really Shai Gilgeous-Alexander who dictates the law for the best forward. Weeks pass, but one constant remains, SGA continues its madness. Aside from a game against the Sixers in late December, the guard has been on a roll at the end of 2022, even setting a new career high against the Pelicans (44 points). If the Thunder are still in the playoff race, it’s because of him. The postseason remains a far-fetched goal, but making the All-Star Game box seems inevitable given the early season mark it has made. Our potential All-Star and MIP to attack in 2023.
Stats in 2021-22: 24.5 points, 5.9 assists, 5 rebounds, 1.3 steals, 45% shooting, including 30% from long range.
Stats in 2022-23: 30.8 points, 5.8 assists, 4.8 rebounds, 1.7 steals, 1 against, 50% shooting, including 35% from long range