The 2021-2022 NBA season is upon us, and with it comes the anticipation of watching some of the league’s brightest stars compete for various awards. While the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award often takes center stage, there are two other accolades that deserve recognition: Most Improved Player and Sixth Man of the Year.
Both awards honor players who have made significant strides in their game, either by improving their overall skills or by making a substantial impact off the bench. As we embark on a new season, let’s dive into some predictions for who could clinch these prestigious titles.
First up, the Most Improved Player award. In recent years, we have witnessed the meteoric rise of players like Pascal Siakam, Brandon Ingram, and Julius Randle, who transformed from promising talents to All-Stars. This season, one player who could follow in their footsteps is the Charlotte Hornets’ Miles Bridges.
Bridges showed glimpses of his potential last season, but expectations are higher than ever for the athletic forward. With the departure of Devonte’ Graham and the continued development of LaMelo Ball, there will be more scoring opportunities for Bridges. He possesses a rare combination of athleticism and shooting ability, and if he can showcase those skills consistently, he has a genuine shot at being named the Most Improved Player.
Another contender for this award is Darius Garland of the Cleveland Cavaliers. After a solid sophomore campaign, Garland will be playing a more significant role this season as the Cavs continue their rebuilding process. With the arrival of rookie Evan Mobley and the departure of Collin Sexton, Garland will have ample opportunities to prove himself as a leader and top-level point guard.
Moving on to Sixth Man of the Year, this award recognizes players who provide a spark off the bench and make a significant impact on their team’s success. Last season, Jordan Clarkson of the Utah Jazz claimed the title with his electrifying scoring displays. This year, a player who could vie for the award is Tyler Herro of the Miami Heat.
Herro had a breakout postseason during the Heat’s run to the NBA Finals in the bubble, but his performance dipped slightly last season. However, with a renewed focus and an improved shooting stroke, Herro has the potential to become one of the best bench scorers in the league. If he can consistently contribute in a sixth man role and ignite the Heat’s offense, he could be a strong contender for the award.
Another player to watch for this accolade is Montrezl Harrell of the Washington Wizards. Harrell, a former Sixth Man of the Year winner, will look to bounce back after a relatively underwhelming season with the Los Angeles Lakers. As the backup center for the Wizards, he could provide the necessary energy and scoring prowess to earn himself another Sixth Man of the Year trophy.
While only time will tell who will earn these prestigious NBA awards, Miles Bridges, Darius Garland, Tyler Herro, and Montrezl Harrell are all primed to make a significant impact on their respective teams. Whether it’s through improved skills, leadership, or scoring off the bench, these players have what it takes to make their mark on the league and potentially walk away with the Most Improved Player and Sixth Man of the Year titles. Let the games begin, and let the race for these awards continue to captivate fans worldwide!