Ja Wins the MIP, Why
Ja Morant won the 2022 NBA Most Improved Player Award on Monday. This move has a lot of fans upset, Memphis Grizzlies Fans’ included. I have to agree that I can see their point of view, the MIP award has never been given to a star player. The last big name to win the award was Giannis Antetokounmpo in 2017 and he hadn’t quite reached star-level yet. So does the NBA not view Morant as a star?
Ja Did Qualify For Most Improved
Don’t get me wrong, Ja Morant made a major improvement this year. His points per game jumped from 19.1 points per game in 2021 to 27.9 points per game in 2022. He did this all while playing fewer games this season. I truly believe he is one the most improved players in the league this season, but, shouldn’t he be considered a star by now.
How I View the MIP Award
I see the MIP Award as an award for an upcoming player, who made a huge impact on his team. A player that could take that next step in the years to come. The award isn’t for a bonafide star-like Morant. Anyone who watches the Grizzlies play knows that Morant is going to be a huge contributor to the game. So why not look at someone who goes above what is expected of him.
So Who Should Have Won the MIP
I think the award should have gone to a Memphis Grizzlies player though. But, that player should have been Desmond Bane. Bane came on the scene this season in a major way. Bane improved his points per game from 9.2 a game in 2021, all the way up to 18.4 a game this season. He also improved all his stats including assists and rebounds per game. Even more than the stats, Bane became that 3-point threat the Grizzlies had to have to take the next step. Desmond Bane won Memphis a few games by himself this year. I truly believe Bane is ready to make that jump to star level in the coming season. I wasn’t the only person to feel this way. Morant even gave Bane the 2022 MIP Award because he thought he was the rightful owner.
Ja Should Be Proud to Win This Award
By no means am I saying that this isn’t a prestigious award. I’m just saying that Ja Morant should have never been a candidate for this award. He should be in the MVP conversation if any conversation. This award should be an award for lesser-known players, to get their names known. But, with this award Morant is starting to get quite a trophy case, he now has a MIP Award to go with his 2020 Rookie of the Year award. Maybe he will even follow in the footsteps of Giannis and add an MVP to his resume in the coming seasons.