2023-2024 NBA Awards: Jokić MVP, Wembanyama Rookie of the Year

Markus Spiske // Unsplash

The 2023–2024 NBA Awards have concluded as the league ventures off into the Western and Eastern Conference Finals. So far, it’s been a bit of an interesting and exciting list of players this year; come tune in as we go over each award winner in six of the main categories.

NBA MVP: Nikola Jokić (Denver Nuggets)

This marks Jokić’s 3rd time winning the KIA MVP award, all within the past four seasons. He previously won the award in the 2020–2021 season and the 2021–2022 season.

Jokić continued his dominance as one of the league’s best centers, as he managed to finish the season with 26.4 points, 12.4 rebounds, 9.0 assists and shooting 58% from the field. He ranks 10th in points, fourth in rebounds and third in assists. To add to his impressive resume this season, he finished second in both double-doubles (68) and triple-doubles (25).

Jokić’s dominance was backed by the Nuggets, as the team put up a record of 57–25, tying with the Oklahoma City Thunder for the first seed. The record this season also ties the franchise high of most wins, which was set in the 2012–2013 season.

NBA Rookie of the Year (ROY): Victor Wembanyama (San Antonio Spurs)

Rising Spurs star Victor Wembanyama is this year’s 2023–2024 NBA ROY. He became the third unanimous winner in Spurs history, joining the likes of Tim Duncan and David Robinson. To celebrate his victory as NBA ROY, he was surprised by attending an exhibit that included video presentations of former ROY recipients congratulating the young star. Some of the former recipients who congratulated him include Kevin Durant, Shaquille O’Neal, David Robinson, LeBron James and many more.

Wembanyama had a stellar performance, as he came in first on the rookie stat board with 21.4 points, 10.6 rebounds and 3.6 blocks per game. To add to his resume, he ranks fourth in assists with 3.9, and second in steals with 1.2. He also became the first player in NBA history to average a minimum of 20 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks in less than 30 minutes per game in a season. To add to this impressive feat, the 7’ 4” rookie  became the first player to have at least 1,500 points, 700 rebounds, 250 assists and blocks, and 100 3-pointers in a single season.

NBA Defensive Player of the Year (DPOY): Rudy Gobert (Minnesota Timberwolves)

Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert is this year’s award recipient for NBA DPOY. He became the third player in NBA history to win the award four times, joining the likes of legends Dikembe Mutombo and Ben Wallace.

Gobert had quite the season on the defensive end. He led the NBA in defensive rating, allowed the fewest points per game and held his opponents to having the lowest FG percentage in the NBA this season. Gobert and the Timberwolves’ stellar defense would play a crucial role for the team as the team managed to reach the third seed (56–26) within the Western Conference and set the second-best franchise record for the team.

As for Gobert’s stats, he posted 14 points, 12.9 rebounds and 2.13 blocks per game. To add to his stat line, he ranked second in rebounds per game, second in field goal percentage with .661, second in offensive rebounds with 3.8 RPG, fourth in defensive rebounds with 9.2 RPG, sixth in blocks with 2.13 BPG and fifth in league double-doubles with 54.

The path to winning the award wasn’t easy for the center. He beat out some difficult competition on his journey, including current ROY Victor Wembanyama, Bam Adebayo, Anthony Davis and Herbert Jones to reach DPOY.

NBA 6th Man of the Year: Naz Reid (Minnesota Timberwolves)

Along with center Rudy Gobert, Naz Reid also brought home an award for the Timberwolves, as he won this year’s 6th Man of The Year. Reid would be a monumental asset for the team, as he was a key component of the team’s 56-26 record. When Karl Anthony-Towns was out in March because of a torn meniscus, the 6’ 9” center would temporarily take the starting position as power forward. Despite the Timberwolves suffering a huge loss with Town’s injury, Reid would fill in his role just fine, as he averaged a solid 17.1 points on 45.4 shooting during that period. Additionally, the team managed to achieve a great record with Reid starting at power forward, as the Timberwolves went 10–3 with Reid starting in 12 out of the 13 games.

Reid’s overall performance this season was solid and ultimately proved why he deserved the award. As he came off the bench, he put up 13.5 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game.

An interesting fact about Reid is that he was actually undrafted out of the 2019–2020 draft class and hailed out of LSU. He initially joined the Timberwolves on a two-way contract that same season, but his numerous great performances off the bench would eventually guide him into a multiyear contract extension before the start of last season.

Along with winning sixth Man of The Year for the team, he also joins former NBA players John Starks and Darrell Armstrong as undrafted players to win the award.

NBA Most Improved Player(MIP): Tyrese Maxey (Philadelphia 76ers)

The all-star point guard out of the 76ers is this year’s winning recipient for MIP. Maxey’s scoring increased for the third year in a row, and he finished this season off with an impressive stat line of 25.9 points, 6.2 assists, 3.7 rebounds and one steal per game. It should be noted that these are all new career highs for the 76ers star. Maxey would address his accomplishment in achieving MIP in an exclusive interview with the Inside the NBA crew.

“It feels great,” Maxey said in response to being asked about winning the award. “Somebody like myself, who prides myself on putting in a lot of work and outworking people and finding ways to get 1% better every single time I step in the gym — it feels good for that to come to light, honestly.”

Maxey, who had 319 total votes, was neck and neck with runner-up Coby White, who had 305. In 3rd place was Houston Rockets center Alperen Şengün, who had 92 total votes. And lastly, behind the three was Jalen Williams at fourth place with 79 votes and Jalen Brunson at 5 with 25.

NBA Coach of the Year: Mark Daigneault (Oklahoma City Thunder)

Mark Daigneault, aged 39, is the recipient of this year’s Coach of the Year award after he led one of the league’s youngest teams to the 1st seed in the Western Conference.

Daigneault was initially the head coach for the Thunder’s developmental team, the Oklahoma City Blue, for five years. During his stint as head coach for the team, he racked up a .572 winning percentage, made four playoff appearances and had three divisional titles during his 5-year run. Eventually, Daigneault would be called up to coach the Thunder in 2020, when former head coach Billy Donovan parted ways with the team to coach the Chicago Bulls.

Once in his position as head coach, things weren’t easy for Daigneault in his first two years, and he had to face several major obstacles to get to his current position. In his first year, the Thunder went 22–50 and then 24–58 the following year. But by his third season, Daigneault would eventually find his groove with the Thunder, as the team went 40–42 and reached the Western Conference play-in tournament, and would also be runner-up for Coach of the Year behind Kings Coach Mike Brown. Even more success occurred this season, as the Thunder went 57-25 and clinched a tie with the Nuggets for first seed in the West (57–25).

Daigneault is well-known by players and other coaches for being an efficient leader and having  extraordinary communication skills. According to him, the key to having great communication as a coach is to simply listen to team suggestions from all members of the team to ensure success.

“Ultimately, we’re in it together,” he remarks. “We’re all working together to try to get to the best thing, and we don’t care where that idea comes from. If it comes from a player, comes from a video assistant, it doesn’t matter. We’re just trying to get the best thing and move in the same direction.”

Other award winners for this season include the following:

  • Social Justice Award: Karl Anthony-Towns (Minnesota Timberwolves)
  • Sportsmanship Award: Tyrese Maxey (Philadelphia 76ers)
  • Clutch Player of the Year: Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors)
  • Executive of the Year: Brad Stevens (Boston Celtics)
  • Teammate of the Year: Mike Conley Jr. (Minnesota Timberwolves)
  • Hustle of the Year: Alex Caruso (Chicago Bulls)
  • Citizenship Award: CJ McCollum (New Orleans Pelicans)

Still interested in learning more about each of the other award winners? Head on over to the official NBA site for more information about the winning recipients for each of the awards and for anything else league related.

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