Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen has won the 2022-23 NBA Most Improved Player award.
He becomes the first player in franchise history to garner the award.
Markkanen (7-0, 238, Finland) averaged a career-best 25.6 points (12th in the NBA) on 49.9 percent from the field and 39.1 percent from beyond the arc, along with 8.6 boards, and 1.9 assists in 34.4 minutes per game, boosting his points per game by over 10-plus from 2021-22. Markkanen totaled 16 games with 30-or-more points during his first season in Utah, after having tallied just 15 such games in his previous five NBA campaigns. He was one of only six players in the NBA to average over 25 points and eight boards in 2022-23 (min. 60 games played) alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid, Luka Doncic, Julius Randle, and Jayson Tatum.
The 25-year-old earned his first All-Star selection in 2022-23, starting for Team Giannis during All-Star weekend in Salt Lake City. Markkanen became the first player in NBA history to knock down over 200 threes, while throwing down over 100 dunks in a single season. His 200 three-point makes were the most in a season by a seven-footer in NBA history. He logged 23 games with over 20 points and 10 boards last year, which was the 10th most such outings in the NBA.
The Finnish international registered three games with 40-or-more points, including a career night against Houston on Jan. 5, where he totaled 49 points on 15-of-27 from the field, becoming only the fifth player in Jazz history to tally 49-or-more points (Dantley, Malone, Maravich, and T. Robinson) and he was the first Jazz player to total multiple 40-point, 10-rebound games in a season since Karl Malone in 1997-98.
The first Utah player to earn the Most Improved accolade, Markkanen becomes seventh international player to be named Most Improved, joining Pascal Siakam (2018-19), Giannis Antetokounmpo (2016-17), Goran Dragic (2013-14), Boris Diaw (2005-06), Hedo Turkoglu (2007-08), and Gheorghe Muresan (1995-96).