NBA Most Improved Player Power Rankings: Does Scottie Barnes have a shot?

Barnes has to pull off a major upset to win MIP.

Cleveland Cavaliers v Toronto Raptors
Cleveland Cavaliers v Toronto Raptors / Mark Blinch/GettyImages
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Even as the Toronto Raptors make some big moves to bring in names like RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley, the one constant on this team is that sensational third-year forward Scottie Barnes will be front and center in both the team's on-court attack and their long-term planning.

Barnes has taken a gigantic jump in quality from Year 2 to Year 3. While some of that can be attested to Darko Rajakovic's offense playing at a faster pace than Nick Nurse's plan of attack, his own personal improvements on both sides of the ball need to be taken into account as well.

In a down year for the Raptors, where team accolades might be a bit difficult to come by, Barnes contending for the Most Improved Player Award might be the best chance Toronto has of actually getting some hardware this season. The rest of the league just needs to be as aware of Barnes' dominance as the rest of the Raptors' fanbase is.

Barnes' stock in the MIP race may have fallen a bit, but through no fault of his own. Scottie will need to stare down some competition from players in his own draft class and division rivals alike if he is to overcome the odds and follow a Rookie of the Year win with a MIP trophy to go next to it on his mantlepiece.

NBA Most Improved Player Power Rankings: Can Toronto Raptors star Scottie Barnes win?

6. Shaedon Sharpe, Portland Trail Blazers

While Sharpe is not going to win this award due to both Portland's poor record and the fact that his stats have taken a slight dip recently, the fact he's gone from a perfectly average bench guard to a respectable scorer and shooter in one year deserves attention from the league.

Sharpe is averaging over 16 points and five rebounds per game despite playing on a bad Blazers team trying to get him, Scoot Henderson, and Anfernee Simons shots at once. With a better structure around him, Sharpe might be able to reach the limitless ceiling he has in front of him.

Will Scottie Barnes beat Tyrese Haliburton in MIP race?

5. Tyrese Haliburton, Indiana Pacers

Haliburton is the talk of the NBA town lately, as his gaudy assist numbers and eye-popping scoring have the Pacers firmly established as one of the most exciting teams in the league. Even compared to last year, Haliburton is operating on an entirely different level.

Haliburton is averaging 24.7 points and a ridiculous 12.7 assists per game this year. The only thing that could prevent the Eastern Conference Player of the Week from winning this award is the fact his 2022-23 season was so impressive that voters won't consider what he did this season enough of a meaningful step forward.