Phoenix Suns: 2 Players That Will Win Awards Next Year

Phoenix Suns. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Phoenix Suns. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /
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Phoenix Suns, Deandre Ayton
Phoenix Suns, Deandre Ayton (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Phoenix Suns: Deandre Ayton will win the Most Improved Player of the Year Award

Based on the leap he took during the postseason, Deandre Ayton essentially won this award last year—just a few weeks past its criteria window. During the playoffs, Ayton increased his scoring by 1.4 points per game, while raising his field goal percentage 3.2 percent as well. He also averaged an additional 1.3 rebounds per playoff contest, allowing him to finish with 14 double-doubles, the fifth most during a single playoff run since 2010.

But those who watched Ayton know that these statistical increases only partially advertise his game’s growth. The former Arizona Wildcat played for more aggressively than ever before last postseason, and illustrated an ability to elevate himself during clutch situations.

With Ayton set to begin only his fourth season as a pro, no reason exists for him to stop improving. He bullied elite big men Anthony Davis and Nikola Jokic frequently during the Phoenix’s postseason run last year. He just needs to keep rekindle that fire once the 2021-22 season tips off, and keep it blazing at least until the playoffs begin.

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Additionally, this award half the time goes to high draft picks who got off to slow starts with their careers, but then eventually lived up to expectations. Recent winners Julius Randle and Brandon Ingram fit this description, as does Ayton.

At this moment, Ayton currently holds +4800 odds to win the award, but they will surely need to adjust that once things start rolling.