‣ The writer, Mat Issa, has started a new column called “Matty Ice’s Mailbag” where he answers questions from his Twitter followers about NBA-related topics.
‣ The Most Improved Player Award, according to Issa, should go to a player who improves the most from the expected growth they were supposed to have in that specific season.
‣ The writer also discusses his views on the Sixth Man of the Year Award, stating that it should go to the best overall player who comes off the bench for a majority of their appearances on the season.
What do you think the MIP award should be like? There’s always the debate whether young players can win because it’s “expected” for lottery picks to improve or if it’s just more opportunity instead of having guys win that were in a league for some time but making that unexpected…
— John Jablonka (@JohnJablonka_)
Hey there! Mat Issa here, your go-to NBA writer. I’m thrilled to introduce the first edition of my new column at Basketball Insiders: Matty Ice’s Mailbag.
This mailbag is pretty straightforward. You ask me questions on Twitter (@matissa15), and I answer them here. I’m hoping to run this column regularly, but that depends on how many questions I get from you guys. So, don’t be shy, ask me anything!
Ever wondered why this is called “Matty Ice’s Mailbag?” You know that nickname your buddies give you after you’ve downed nine beers in under three hours? No? Just me? Well, that’s where the nickname comes from.
Enough chit-chat, let’s get to your questions.
First up, the Most Improved Player Philosophy. My personal take is that the award should go to a player who exceeds their expected growth for the season. Think of it like 2K ratings. If a player was rated 75 and expected to improve to 77, but they jump to 85, they should get the nod.
I believe the award should go to the player who makes the most unexpected leap. That doesn’t mean it can’t be a young player. But, it’s harder to argue their leap was unexpected compared to an established veteran. However, the current voting body seems to prefer the Tyrese Maxey MIP candidacy.
Next, we have the Biggest Risers and Fallers. I’ve changed my opinion the most on CJ McCollum for the better and Jordan Poole for the worse. McCollum has improved his scoring efficiency, while Poole’s shooting hasn’t bounced back, and his shot selection and body language look awful.
The Empty Calorie Scorer Vs. Rising Star debate. I look at two things when distinguishing empty calories from promising production: 1) are they making their team better, and 2) is what they’re doing translatable to a more competitive team?
For the Sixth Man of the Year, I’d choose Austin Reaves over Tim Hardaway Jr. Reaves gives you off-ball scoring, on-ball scoring, and playmaking. He’s simply the better player.
Under The Radar Trade Deadline Targets? I love discussing players who could turn a good team into a title contender. Some names to watch are Royce O’Neale, Collin Sexton, Tyus Jones, Corey Kispert, and Kelly Olynyk.
As for the Future Of The Chicago Bulls, it depends on how the team looks with LaVine back. If the team looks good, keep it rolling. If LaVine wants out, try to move him for a younger player. If the team continues to be middling, look to unload LaVine, Caruso, DeMar DeRozan, and Nikola Vucevic for any assets you can get.
The Dante Exum Resurgence? I think Exum is the latest addition to the “damaged goods archetype.” He couldn’t live up to the expectations of the Utah Jazz, but his elite wingspan, lateral agility, and court awareness have made him a great role player for the Dallas Mavericks.
A Peak Behind The Curtains? My typical work day when I’m not in school starts at 7 am ET. I spend the day alternating between watching games and fulfilling my non-article responsibilities.
I hope you enjoyed this inaugural edition of “Matty Ice’s Mailbag.” Be sure to shoot me a DM (@matissa15) on Twitter with a question you want to see answered in the future.