How many Pelicans have won the Most Improved Player award?

Trey Murphy III & Brandon Ingram, New Orleans Pelicans. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Trey Murphy III & Brandon Ingram, New Orleans Pelicans. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

With current New Orleans Pelicans forward Trey Murphy III being viewed as a potential candidate to take home the 2023-2024 Most Improved Player of the Year award (man, is that a tough accolade to predict), we figured we would review the franchise’s past winners of the award.

We should probably start with the one that is likely on everyone’s mind. If you aren’t aware of what we’re alluding to, we’re talking about 2019-20, when Murphy’s current teammate Brandon Ingram took home the award.

Outside of that, the Pelicans have never had another MIP winner. That isn’t really that big of a deal, considering that they have only been a franchise for 21 years. With that said, though, you’d be surprised how much success they have had in this category in the short time they have existed as a franchise.

In their 21 years as a team, New Orleans has had ten different seasons where one of their players has finished in the top-10 in MIP voting. Two of those seasons include having their players finish as runner-ups for the award. In 2005-06, franchise icon David West finished second, and in 2012-13, Greivis Vásquez did the same.

Looking through the players that have finished in the top-10 in the voting for the award before, it is promising to see how many of the Pelicans’ greatest stars started out as MIP candidates.

Anthony Davis placed 3rd and 6th in MIP voting in 2013-14 and 2014-15, respectively. The franchise’s greatest player, Chris Paul, finished 8th in MIP voting. In 2006-07, future Defensive Player of the Year Tyson Chandler finished 4th in MIP voting. Jamaal Magloire was the first Pelican to finish top-10 in MIP voting, placing 7th in 2003-04.

Two current Pelicans have also placed top-10 in MIP voting as members of the New Orleans Pelicans. Zion Williamson finished 9th in MIP voting in 2020-21. And guess what? Murphy finished 7th in MIP voting last season.

Now, let’s see if Murphy can be the second Pelican to win the MIP award.

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