Most Improved Player Rankings are back: Markieff Morris at No. 1

1Phoenix SunsMARKIEFF MORRIS, F, PHOENIX: At Kansas, Markieff was the “other” twin. Now, he’s living up to his potential as the twin with the most talent. I don’t know what this does for the Nature vs. Nurture debate, but it’s fascinating. Morris was named Western Conference Player of the Week, going for 23, 28, and 23 as Phoenix went 2-1.
2 Phoenix SunsERIC BLEDSOE, G, PHOENIX: Everyone knew Bledsoe could play when the Suns traded for him this summer, but to be averaging 21 points and 7 dimes in helping Phoenix to a 5-2 start? Not even his mother would have predicted that. (Although my mother did. Hmm.)  
3 Indiana PacersLANCE STEPHENSON, G, INDIANA: Remember when a bench-warming Stephenson was making himself look like a clown by giving LeBron the choke sign in the 2012 playoffs? Those days are long gone. He’s averaging 14 points, 6 assists and 6 boards this season and looking like the Paul George to George’s Danny Granger. 
4HornetsANTHONY DAVIS, F, NEW ORLEANS: We all knew Davis was going to be good. But 22, 12, 4 blocks and 2.3 steals per game in his second season? Leaguewide, he ranks 13th, fifth, second and sixth. That’s just crazy. The Unibrow went for 32, 12, and 6 blocks against the Lakers on Friday. 
5Phoenix SunsMILES PLUMLEE, C, PHOENIX: He was a spare part as a rookie on the Pacers last season, playing in just 14 games and averaging less than a point per game. Now, he’s putting up 12 points and 10 boards in 30 minutes per game for the stunning Suns. 

NEXT FIVE: Spencer Hawes, C, Philadelphia; Evan Turner, G, Philadelphia; Jeremy Lamb, G, Oklahoma City; Gordon Hayward, F, Utah; Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, F, Charlotte.

Kels Dayton is a freelance writer whose work has also appeared in SLAM Magazine. You can check out more of his work at and Follow him on Twitter @RoundballDaily.


  1. steppxxxz says

    I want to raise my hand to say I predicted Suns would be a surprise. First off, I was a huge defender of Miles Plumlee. He had no chance in indiana. You cant say he looked bad, because he never played. He has a 41 in vertical….did everyone forget the combine and his flashes during his senior year? Howwever…………..I NEVER saw markieff suddenly turning into an all star. Didnt see that coming. But i loved Hornacek, loved bledsoe and dragic…and i figured Gerald Green might wake up with the right coaching. It proves coaches matter.

  2. MrNique says

    Hawk fan, so biased, but what about Jeff Teague? He’s second in the league in assists at 10.1 and is settling into Coach Bud’s system and the Hawks are one of the most efficient offensive teams in the league.

    • says

      Hey MrNique, thanks for reading. I took a look at Teague, but I just don’t think he’s improved enough to earn a spot in the rankings. That’s no slight to him, it just means he was really good last season. Plus, I think his big contract puts higher expectations on him for this year. He’d have to be playing at an All-Star level for me to really consider him.


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