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Lauri Markkanen named a finalist for 2023 Most Improved Player

A well-deserved award for the MIP frontrunner from Finland

San Antonio Spurs v Utah Jazz Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

The NBA announced that Lauri Markkanen is a finalist for the Most Improved Player award.

Markkanen had an incredible season and is likely the frontrunner for the award. It will likely be between him and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who has also seen quite a jump in production this season.

What should probably give the edge to Markkanen is the surprise of his season for the Utah Jazz. Coming to Utah as a distressed asset in the Donovan Mitchell trade, most expected Markkanen to be nothing more than a tall, catch-and-shoot three-point shooter, and he’s been so much more than that. Markkanen has been a player that scored in a variety of ways, whether it was in isolation, in the post, in transition, cutting off-ball in the half court, and then being a dynamic shooter whether it was catch-and-shoot, but also pull-up threes. Markkanen is doing a better job on defense than many would have guessed with his weakside rim protection, as well as his effort guarding on the perimeter.

So much of this season for Markkane has been proving that he’s so much more than the metaphorical box that people had put him in. It will be really satisfying to see him get this award if his name is called.