Mavericks: Is Luka Doncic the favorite to win Most Improved Player?

Dallas Mavericks Luka Doncic (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Dallas Mavericks Luka Doncic (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /
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Dallas Mavericks
Dallas Mavericks Luka Doncic Trae Young Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images) /

5. Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks

Trae Young will always be compared to Luka Doncic because of the 2018 draft night trade. The Hawks guard took a massive leap this season as well. He increased his numbers across the board. Young is averaging 29.6 points, 9.3 assists, and 4.3 rebounds per game. He improved his shooting percentages to 43.7 from the field, 36.1 on his 3-pointers, and 86.0 from the free throw line.

That allowed Ice Trae to make his first All-Star team this season. The Hawks guard is difficult to stop on the offensive end of the floor. He is fourth in points per game, second in assists per game, and eighth in offensive box score plus/minus in the NBA.

Read. Will Luka or KP be the Mavs leading scorer going forward?

One thing that holds back Young’s case is his defense. He ranks 503rd or dead last in ESPN’s defensive real plus/minus. He is an offensive force, but needs to make strides on the other end of the floor. The Hawks sit at 20-47 and 14th in the Eastern Conference in part because of Ice Trae’s defensive struggles.

Trae Young should garner votes for the Most Improved Player. Increasing your scoring by 10.5 points each game is difficult to do, especially when it vaults the player into the top five in the NBA. It was an impressive jump from the 21-year-old, but there is work still to do.

Next: No. 4