Predicting the 2024 NBA Awards

Written by: Skyler Hogan

Graphic by: Liban Rizvi

MIP: Tyrese Maxey

Last year, it became clear to NBA fans that Tyrese Maxey was a star in the making, and he has completely lived up to those expectations. Even before Joel Embiid was ruled out for the season with a knee injury, Maxey was the frontrunner for the award, and in his absence, Maxey has only shined brighter. Although the Sixers have been struggling overall without their likely MVP, Maxey’s numbers have increased across the board. Tyrese is averaging 26 points, six assists, and 4 rebounds compared to last year’s split of 20-3-3.

ROTY: Victor Wembanyama

Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sport

By far the easiest award to predict this year, Victor Wembanyama will likely become the 6th unanimous NBA Rookie Of The Year, becoming the first to do so since KAT in 2016 and the second Spur alongside David Robinson. Any possible allegations of Wemby being a bust have been completely squashed, as he has looked completely inhuman across his first NBA season. On the offensive end, Wemby is settling into his rhythm more and more with every game, but it’s his defense where the 20-year-old is already an elite talent. His positioning and timing on defense are nearly flawless, and with his 8-foot wingspan, any shot attempts around the basket are erased. His presence in the paint alone is enough for teams to rework their entire offensive schemes to avoid driving into the Wemby zone. In their last 15 games, the Spurs have a defensive rating of 106, the best in the NBA, with Wemby on the court, and a rating of 118, the 25th best in the league with him off. Wembanyama is something we have never seen before, a complete alien who will redefine the league as we know it, so just sit back and enjoy history unfolding in front of you.

DPOY: Rudy Gobert

NBA/Images

Don’t get me wrong, I really, REALLY wanted to give this to Wembanyama, but I think it’s unrealistic to think that the NBA will give this award to a rookie on one of the worst teams in basketball over the anchor on the best defensive team in the NBA. While Wemby may be the most impactful individual defender in the league, the Timberwolves’s league-leading defense revolves around a different French big man. With Gobert on the floor, the Twolves are holding opponents to just 105 points per 100 possessions and an effective FG% of just 49%. Although Rudy’s interior defense and massive presence in the paint have always been his trademark, he has shown surprising mobility in closing out on perimeter players and staying on the hip when they drive. It’s this versatility in closing out to multiple places on the floor while also being able to recover and provide hulking shot deterrence around the basket that has made Gobert and the Twolves defense so hard to score against. Love him or hate him, Rudy Gobert is one of the best defenders in NBA history, and I expect him to add a 4th DPOY award to his resume.

MVP: Nikola Jokic

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Not to discredit guys like Luka or Giannis who are having phenomenal seasons, but at this point, the race for MVP seems to have come down to two players. Nikola Jokic and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. It is incredibly difficult to pick between these two talents, but after plenty of consideration and research, I’m going with Jokic as the 2024 NBA MVP. The argument for Shai is incredibly strong. He has emerged as a superstar, leading the Thunder (the league’s 2nd youngest team) to a tie for the 1 seed in one of the most loaded Western Conferences to date. The value Shai provides on both ends of the floor is immense, averaging 31.1 PPG and a league-best 2.1 SPG. However, Jokic is having as much of a monster season as we’ve come to expect from him. Jokic is 4th in assists and 3rd in rebounds per game while also averaging 25.9 points on a Nuggets team, beating any allegations of a championship hangover. However, the real kicker that solidifies him as MVP in my books is the advanced stats. Jokic is first in player efficiency, value above replacement and box plus/minus, and second in win shares by a sliver behind SGA. If that isn’t enough, Jokic’s on/off diff, which measures a player’s net value to his team when he’s on the court, is leagues beyond the competition. This number is reached by combining the team’s offensive and defensive points per possession when that player is on the court. Jokic has an on/off diff of +23.3. To emphasize how insane that is, here are the next 4 MVP candidates and their respective on/off diff:

SGA: +11.7

Giannis: +12.7

Luka: +7.7

Tatum: +2.2

You could add ¾ of the other MVP candidates together (Giannis/Shai, Luka, Tatum), and they still wouldn’t be as valuable as Nikola Jokic has been for the Denver Nuggets this season. For these reasons, I’m picking Jokic to add a third MVP to his ever-increasing collection of NBA hardware.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *