National Basketball Association
2024 NBA Awards: Staff picks for MVP, Rookie of the Year and more
National Basketball Association

2024 NBA Awards: Staff picks for MVP, Rookie of the Year and more

Published Apr. 16, 2024 3:22 p.m. ET

The 2023-24 NBA regular season has concluded and, soon, a new champion will be crowned. But first, the league will roll out its end-of-season awards, starting with Defensive Player of the Year on Wednesday and ending with Most Valuable Player on May 2.

This week, we asked FOX Sports' panel of NBA reporters — Ric Bucher, Melissa Rohlin and Yaron Weitzman — to make their picks for all seven of the major, media-voted NBA Awards. Here's who made their ballots:

Coach of the Year

Jamahl Mosley, Orlando Magic

To me, this award this season basically boils down to a choice: Do you reward the coach whose team performed the best, or the coach whose team most outperformed expectations. There's no wrong answer, both Mosley and Joe Mazzulla are deserving of this honor. Mazzulla's team ran laps around the rest of the league, in part thanks to him successfully integrating Jrue Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis into the team's ecosystem. But I just can't get past the job Mosley did this year. The Magic had no business winning 47 games and finishing fifth in the East. Mosley turned all their athletes into the league's third-best defense. He deserves this award. Though I'd have no issue with Mazzulla — or Mark Daigneault, coach of the No. 1 OKC Thunder! —taking home this hardware. — Weitzman


Mark Daigneault, Oklahoma City Thunder

Daigneault has to be given credit for leading the second-youngest roster in the NBA to the top seed in the Western Conference with a record of 57-25. He helped Shai Gilgeous-Alexander grow into a top MVP contender and Chet Holmgren make noise his rookie season. No one expected the Thunder to be this good, and Daigneault's intellect and leadership is a big reason for this team's jump. — Rohlin

Erik Spoelstra, Miami Heat

Several coaches won more games, but no one won more games with lineups cobbled from a no-name roster more than Spoelstra. And, unlike Oklahoma City or Orlando, the Heat didn't have the benefit of being taken lightly by opponents for a good part of the season, courtesy of reaching the finals last year and the franchise's general reputation that you better strap up if you hope to beat them. The Heat lost two starters, Max Strus and Gabe Vincent, and the Damian Lillard sweepstakes during the offseason. Nikola Jovic started 37 games; Alonzo Highsmith, 26. Tyler Herro, their third-best player, played half the season and Jimmy Butler, arguably their best player, was available for 59. Despite all that, they won more games than last year and had the fourth-best defense with essentially Bam Adebayo, Butler and a cast of role players. — Bucher

Executive of the Year

Brad Stevens, Boston Celtics

He traded for Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday, both of whom have excelled in their new roles, and put together a roster that led the league in wins and point differential. — Weitzman

Brad Stevens, Boston Celtics

We all knew adding Jrue Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis was a potential game-changer for the Celtics, who reached the Finals in 2022 before falling to Golden State. Now the Celtics, who finished No. 1 in the East with a record of 64-18, are deeper on both ends of the court, with great complements to their star ensemble of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Expect this team to be a contender for years to come, too. — Rohlin 

Brad Stevens, Boston Celtics

Assembled far and away the most talented team in the league, upgrading from Marcus Smart and Robert Williams to Jrue Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis. Nico Harrison of the Dallas Mavericks deserves acknowledgment as well for his trade deadline moves that vastly upgraded the Mavs' defense and whatever he has been whispering in Kyrie Irving's ear that has kept him on the beam. — Bucher

Most Improved Player

Jalen Brunson, New York Knicks

Brunson was good last year. This year he was great. He upped his scoring by nearly five points per game (28.4) while maintaining a similar efficiency. More than that, he was the engine and only shot creator for a Knicks squad that, despite Julius Randle's injury, finished the season with a top-10 offense and with 50 wins and second place in the East. — Weitzman

Tyrese Maxey, Philadelphia 76ers

Maxey turned heads at the top of the season, instantly stepping into the second star role after the 76ers traded James Harden to the LA Clippers. Sure, his productivity took a hit with Joel Embiid injured for much of the season, enabling teams to collapse on him. But Maxey skyrocketed into another caliber this season, averaging 25.9 points on 44.9 percent shooting from the field, six assists and 3.7 rebounds a game.  — Rohlin

Coby White, Chicago Bulls

It was only a couple of years ago that there were questions about whether White would stick in the league, his game trending in the wrong direction. Now he looks like a fixture in the Bulls' starting backcourt, making the most of Zach LaVine's absence to double his scoring and playmaking. Even his defense has improved. Philadelphia's Tyrese Maxey appears to have a lot of momentum to win this award, but I didn't see improvement from Maxey as much as I saw a larger role with Joel Embiid out most. — Bucher

Sixth Man of the Year

Naz Reid, Minnesota Timberwolves

Reid is too good to come off the bench; he'd be starting in the front court for almost every other team in the league. He finished the season averaging 13.5 points, 5.2 rebounds and nearly one steal and one block in just over 24 minutes per game. Oh, he drilled an awesome 41.4% of the 5.1 3-pointers he launcher per game. And he's even better than those numbers suggest. It's a testament to his versatile skillset that he was able to thrive when playing alongside either Karl-Anthony Towns or Rudy Gobert. He played an integral role in the Wolves winning 56 games. — Weitzman

Malik Monk, Sacramento Kings

Monk has been the savior of the Kings' second unit, capable of going on a scoring flurry on any given night. The Kings, who finally came onto the NBA's radar last season, haven't met expectations this year, but Monk has been exciting and consistent and is a big part of why they're in ninth place in the West, fighting for a playoff spot. — Rohlin

Malik Monk, Sacramento Kings

Monk, at times, looked like the heir apparent to Manu Ginobili as an off-the-bench closer. His numbers don't tell the whole story, as numbers often don't. Every time I tuned into a Kings' game, Monk was either sharing the fourth-quarter load with De'Aaron Fox or carrying the heavy end of it, hitting big shot after big shot to keep them in a game or seal a victory. The Kings have been largely a puzzling disappointment with their failure to build on last season, but Monk, outside of a rough January, has been one of their few consistent bright spots. Naz Reid, as a stretch 4, has been a key reason the absence of Karl-Anthony Towns wasn't more deeply felt by the Minnesota Timberwolves, but Monk gets the nod for his late-game heroics and being a factor all season long. — Bucher

Defensive Player of the Year

Rudy Gobert, Minnesota Timberwolves

There are really good cases to be made for Victor Wembanyama, who feels like a cheat code on the defensive. But Gobert was the anchor of the league's best defensive team. And the Wolves were better on defense than you realize. They didn't just finish the season with the league's best defensive rating, but the difference between them and the No. 2 Celtics is the same as the difference between the Celtics and the 10th place Rockets. — Weitzman

Rudy Gobert, Minnesota Timberwolves

The Timberwolves boast the NBA's top defense and it's largely because of Gobert. His presence down low kept the Timberwolves atop the league for much of the season. Although Victor Wembanyama and Anthony Davis were strong contenders for this award, the nod had to go to Gobert, whose gritty play made the difference in his team finishing No. 3 in the West. — Rohlin

Rudy Gobert, Minnesota Timberwolves

I wanted to reward Anthony Davis for the yeoman's work he has done as the safety net behind an otherwise porous Los Angeles Lakers' defense, but I just couldn't ignore how Gobert's multiple efforts on every defensive possession anchored the league's No. 1 defense. If his numbers aren't quite as gaudy as Davis' or Victor Wembanyama's — both averaged more blocked shots — it's because Gobert's presence routinely discouraged opponents from even attempting a shot with him in the vicinity. — Bucher

Rookie of the Year

Victor Wembanyama, San Antonio Spurs

Probably the easiest award to pick. As a kid, did you ever create a player in a video game and turn all the attributes to the max — and then name the player after yourself? Well, Wembanyama is basically that, but in real life. A stat line of 21.3 points, 10.6 rebounds, 3.8 assist and a league-leading 3.6 blocks per game is obscene and, at the same time, doesn't even capture how ridiculous his rookie season was. — Weitzman

Victor Wembanyama, San Antonio Spurs

Wembanyama entered this season with sky-high expectations that haven't been seen since  LeBron James' rookie year. He more than lived up to the hype. As James said last year, Wembanyama is an alien. If Wembanyama is this good at age 20, it's exciting to think that this is just the tip of the iceberg and imagine what will come. He's in the perfect spot, being coached by Gregg Popovich, who will undoubtedly unlock his very real potential to become face of the league one day. — Rohlin

Victor Wembanyama, San Antonio Spurs

The only question about whether or not Victor Wembanyama would win this award is if coach Gregg Popovich would allow him to play enough to qualify for it. OKC's Chet Holmgren looked like a contender and Miami's Jaime Jaquez Jr. had his moments early on, but this was never really a contest. What is extraordinary – and somewhat frightening for the league – is how quickly Wembanyama has acclimated. Popovich has gradually expanded his role as the season has unfolded and Wembanyama has handled each and every added responsibility without a hitch. — Bucher

Most Valuable Player

Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets

Luka made this close, but Jokic is very clearly the best player in the NBA. He nearly averaged a triple-double (26.6 points, 12.4 rebounds, 9 assists per game) and led the league in basically every catch-all advanced stats. And his Nuggets finished the season No. 1 in the West. Luka was spectacular this season, but the Nuggets' superior record gives Jokic the nod. — Weitzman

Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets

To Jokic's great excitement, he's going to win his third MVP Award. It wasn't even a contest. After Embiid needed knee surgery in February, the MVP race pretty much screeched to a halt. Sure, Luka Dončić was spectacular and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander emerged as one of the league's top players, but Jokic is in a class of his own right now, dominating nearly every advanced stat. — Rohlin

Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets

This year's MVP race reminds me of the 2006-07 race, when Steve Nash finished second to Dirk Nowitzki after winning the previous two years; the idea of putting Nash in the rarefied historic air of a three-time consecutive MVP appeared too much for voters to stomach, even though his 06-07 season was far and away his best of the three. Jokic appears to be facing the same reluctance; as I've tracked MVP discourse this season, it feels as if media members are looking for a reason to vote for someone else. Since I didn't put Jokic first on my ballot the first two times he won, I carry no such burden and have no problem declaring him the best and most impactful player in the league this year.

My reluctance to give him the award before stemmed from his reluctance to impose his size and scoring ability with the game on the line; he was more apt to use his passing wizardry to get someone else a shot, even when he had a mismatch. Not this season; from the start I saw him punishing teams who tried to guard him with non-centers or were willing to switch defensively, without sacrificing his orchestration of the rest of the offense. The only reason I toyed with putting OKC's Shai Gilgeous-Alexander at the top of my ballot is because he makes a far more consistent effort defensively; I also wanted to reward Luka Dončić for his ability to sustain his mastery this season.

But seeing Jokic imposing his will both through his individual talent and making an array of teammates appear more talented than they are, all while vying for the West's best record a second consecutive year, was simply too much to ignore.  — Bucher

Yaron Weitzman is an NBA writer for FOX Sports. He is the author of "Tanking to the Top: The Philadelphia 76ers and the Most Audacious Process in the History of Professional Sports." Follow him on Twitter @YaronWeitzman.

Melissa Rohlin is an NBA writer for FOX Sports. She previously covered the league for Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Times, the Bay Area News Group and the San Antonio Express-News. Follow her on Twitter @melissarohlin.

Ric Bucher is an NBA writer for FOX Sports. He previously wrote for Bleacher Report, ESPN The Magazine and The Washington Post and has written two books, "Rebound," on NBA forward Brian Grant's battle with young onset Parkinson's, and "Yao: A Life In Two Worlds." He also has a weekly podcast, "On The Ball with Ric Bucher." Follow him on Twitter @RicBucher.

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