Lakers News: Austin Reaves Betting Favorite To Win Most Improved Player Award
Austin Reaves, Lakers
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA’s Most Improved Player Award is always one that is extremely difficult to predict as there are different ways it can be interpreted. Is it for someone who came from nowhere to become a contributor, or perhaps a young player making a leap from solid to bonafide star. Whatever the criteria, one name to watch for the award in the upcoming season is Los Angeles Lakers guard Austin Reaves.

Down the stretch of last season and into the playoffs, Reaves was outstanding for the Lakers, improving his numbers while maintaining his efficiency. Now coming into the 2023-24 season after signing a new contract, many are expecting Reaves to take another leap into possible All-Star territory.

And that has shown in the betting odds of the Most Improved Player Award as Reaves has leaped ahead of Mikal Bridges of the Brooklyn Nets to become the betting favorite on, via Lakers Nation’s own Ryan Ward:

This move likely has to do with Reaves’ play as a member of Team USA at the FIBA World Cup. Reaves has been one of the most reliable players on the team and a major reason they have seen the success they have so far. Bridges is also a starter on Team USA and has been important as well, but maybe doesn’t have those standout moments that Reaves has had.

Both Reaves and Bridges are very real possibilities for the award as they both are set in bigger roles for their respective teams that they showed they can handle down the stretch of last season.

Following Reaves and Bridges in the odds are Jordan Poole, who was traded to the Washington Wizards and looks set to be their leading scorer this year, followed by Toronto Raptors forward Scottie Barnes and Detroit Pistons guard Cade Cunningham, who is returning from injury.

Lakers’ Austin Reaves taking on recruiting role while with Team USA

Coincidentally, Bridges is one of the Team USA players who has built up a relationship with Reaves while they play together at the FIBA World Cup. And apparently Reaves may be looking to team up with a couple of his international teammates with the NBA.

While Reaves said he can’t speak on the idea of him recruiting players to join him on the Lakers, he admitted he likes playing with some of his teammates so he wouldn’t mind the idea of them wearing the purple and gold.

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