Early season NBA Most Improved Player power rankings

Whether it's increased opportunities leading to increased production or actual skill development, the race for Most Improved Player is always crowded. Here are five early front-runners to watch.

Feb 1, 2022; San Antonio, Texas, USA;  Golden State Warriors forward Jonathan Kuminga (00) dribbles
Feb 1, 2022; San Antonio, Texas, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Jonathan Kuminga (00) dribbles / Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports
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3. Devin Vassell, San Antonio Spurs

Thanks to Victor Wembanyama, the Spurs have 19 games on national television this season and Devin Vassell has an opportunity to introduce himself to a much wider audience.

A knee injury limited him to just 38 games last season but he averaged 18.5 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.1 steals, shooting 38.7 percent from beyond the arc. He's a long and capable wing defender with as-yet untappted potential at that end of the floor. Already a dangerous spot-up shooter, he's rounding out his offensive profile and developing as a secondary creator.

Vassell ranked in the 83rd percentile in scoring efficiency as the ball-handler in the pick-and-roll last season. He's still much more comfortable pulling-up than driving into traffic but his jumpshot is very good and it's not that hard to see the outlines of a complementary offensive threat who can do damage from all three levels.

Playing next to Wembanyama is not just going to bring more eyeballs to Vassell, it's also going to make things much easier for him at both ends of the floor. All of a sudden he's playing next to a mobile offensive threat of unbelievable gravity and an elite rim protector who can allow him to be more aggressive on the perimeter. You could already see the impact on opening night, as Vassell went for 23 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals.

He's a budding star and this may be the season we actually get to see it.