Most Improved Player – Josh Okogie
Definitely the weakest case that the Suns have across all of the available awards, but let’s try and make one for Josh Okogie. So far this season – whether it is as a starter or coming off the bench – he has been exactly what this team has needed. A versatile defender who is struggling with his 3-point shot at 26.9 percent per game, but who can hit one when left open.
The eight points and 3.2 rebounds Okogie is posting are not career highs, although they are closer to his best ever numbers (8.6 points and 4.3 rebounds) than most other seasons he’s had. Really though Okogie is going to struggle because players of the calibre of Ja Morant have won this award in the past, plus oftentimes it comes down to increased offensive output and improvement.
Okogie is never going to get the best of others in the league in this category, and really an individual like Tyrese Maxey of the Philadelphia 76ers is the type of player who is going to be one of the favorites for this award. The only way Okogie can get any sort of serious consideration, is if Beal continues to miss time, and he increases his scoring to about 17 points per game.
If the criteria was looked at a bit differently though, Okogie’s case would become stronger. Defining improvement outside of the obvious is difficult, but it is also fair to say that many fans did not think Okogie was up to the task of starting on a contending roster like this. The fact that he has, but has also come off the bench just as effectively, has to stand for something here.