Portland Trail Blazers point guard Anfernee Simons is crafting a strong case to become the NBA’s Most Improved Player.
This season, Simons leads the NBA in increased points per game.
Simons went from averaging 7.8 points per game last season to a whopping 17.1 points per game this season.
With Damian Lillard out for likely the rest of the season, Simons has usurped his starting minutes and taken full advantage of them. Of the players in the graphic above, Simons has the best opportunity to take home the award.
Charlotte Hornets forward Miles Bridges was the favorite for the award at the beginning of the season, but has since regressed to the mean.
Philadelphia 76ers point guard Tyrese Maxey has been strong this season, but with new acquisition James Harden running with him in the backcourt, Maxey’s opportunities to shine don’t come as often as Simons.
The same can be said for Memphis Grizzlies shooting guard Desmond Bane, who shares a backcourt with Ja Morant.
Morant is likely the biggest challenger to Simons for the award given his ascent to stardom and the Grizzlies’ rise in the standings. However, Simons’ unexpected path to get to where he is today puts him in the driver’s seat to take the award.