Editor's note: We asked our panel of NBA experts, "Who will win Most Improved Player?"
1. LaMarcus Aldridge (4 votes)
Henry Abbott, ESPN.com's TrueHoop: If he can stay healthy, LaMarcus Aldridge will put up big numbers.
Ric Bucher, ESPN Mag: Because voters are enthralled with big jumps in scoring.
Keith Lipscomb, ESPN.com Fantasy:
I was tempted to pick Jason Maxiell of the Pistons, but Aldridge will be relied upon too much not to shine in Portland.
Jalen Rose, ESPN:
With Greg Oden out and Zach Randolph traded, he's going to get as many minutes as he wants -- and even minutes he doesn't want. He has ability with a good skill set around the basket.
T-2. Dwight Howard (3 votes)
Jon Barry, ESPN: Dwight Howard. His offensive repertoire looks better. Tack on another year of maturity. Huge season ahead.
Chad Ford, ESPN.com: If Howard can continue shooting from the field and the free-throw line the way he did in the preseason, he could be the most dominant big man in the East.
Jack Ramsay, ESPN Radio: Developing inside moves with improved footwork, and shooting better from the line.
T-2. Jason Maxiell (3 votes)
J.A. Adande, ESPN.com: "Maxes out" by getting the most of his ability.
Chris Broussard, ESPN Mag
Marc Stein, ESPN.com: Wanted to pick Kenyon Martin, because it looks as though K-Mart is primed for a historic comeback from microfracture surgery on both knees. But the league doesn't let us vote for guys coming back from injury. The MIP guidelines clearly state that the award "is designed to honor an up-and-coming player" and Maxiell definitely qualifies.
Andray Blatche (1 vote)
Chris Sheridan, ESPN.com: Five years from now, he'll be the league's most underpaid player. Might even be three years from now.
Ronnie Brewer (1 vote)
David Thorpe, Scouts Inc.: Just edges out Andray Blatche. Brewer looked so good this preseason that he has to get the nod. Could easily improve his scoring by more than 10 ppg from last season.
Al Jefferson (1 vote)
Kiki Vandeweghe, ESPN: He's going to have a huge breakout year. Minnesota just doesn't have anybody else. Going to put up KG numbers.
Steve Francis (1 vote)
Scoop Jackson, ESPN.com: Like the Beatles, he's back to where he once belonged.
Josh Smith (1 vote)
John Hollinger, ESPN.com: Players on surprise teams tend to do well in award voting; the Hawks could fit the bill this year.
JJ Redick (1 vote)
Jemele Hill, ESPN.com:
With Dwight Howard inside and Rashard Lewis on the wing, Redick won't have to worry as much about creating his own shot. He'll put up numbers and have everyone hating him again.
Jordan Farmar (1 vote)
Chris Palmer, ESPN Mag: Hard worker who's out to prove Javaris Crittenton won't make him obsolete.
Rajon Rondo (1 vote)
Mark Jackson, ESPN: The organization is putting a lot of trust in him, and he's a competitor who wants to prove people wrong. Will rise to his role as the starting point guard for one of the favorites.