Johnson will need to play more minutes for the San Antonio Spurs
For many Most Improved Player winners of the past, their drastic increase in production went hand in hand with a significant increase in minutes. After all, more minutes usually means more shots and more shots usually means an increase in scoring. For Johnson to even be considered for the award, he’ll need to play significantly more than the 28.5 minutes he averaged this season.
That’s definitely possible with the Spurs likely going through a transition year next season. Furthermore, with veterans like DeMar DeRozan, Patty Mills, and Rudy Gay potentially all leaving in free agency, Johnson could conceivably play in the closing lineup more often.
Were that to occur, Johnson could reasonably average around 34 or 35 minutes per game and see a drastic increase in his production. After all, Johnson averaged 16.1 points and 7.5 rebounds per 36 minutes this season, providing a general idea of how effective he could be in extended minutes. That said, were he able to accomplish all the aforementioned goals, he could definitely exceed those numbers.
Spurs fans will have to wait and see whether Johnson can improve enough to win the Most Improved Player award. That's said, even if he doesn't ultimately win, it's fair to expect big things from him going forward.