And-Ones: Awards, Flagg, Celtics, Thunder, Porter

The finalists for the NBA’s seven end-of-season awards honoring the top performers of the 2023/24 season are set to be unveiled on Sunday, April 21, according to the league (Twitter link). The finalists will be revealed on NBA on TNT at 6:30 p.m.

The performance awards include the Most Valuable Player, the Most Improved Player, Defensive Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Sixth Man of the Year, Coach of the Year, and Clutch Player of the Year.

Nikola Jokic, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Luka Doncic are among the expected frontrunners for MVP. Tyrese Maxey and Coby White are considered the favorites for Most Improved, and that may be one of the closer races among all awards. The battle for Sixth Man of the Year, which figures to feature the likes of Naz Reid and Malik Monk, may also be close. Victor Wembanyama is widely expected to earn the Rookie of the Year award and should also receive consideration for Defensive Player of the Year.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Projected 2025 No. 1 overall pick and Duke commit Cooper Flagg recently completed his stint at the Nike Hoop Summit, where top young prospects showcase their skills in front of scouts. Flagg sat down with HoopsHype’s Sam Yip to discuss the event, his upbringing and why he chose to play for the Blue Devils. “Fit and feel,” Flagg said. “Great relationship with Coach Scheyer. Durham is a great place, a great environment. I mean just the environment and the feel and the fit for me.
  • The Celtics and Thunder‘s G League affiliates made the NBAGL Finals this season. That best-of-three series corresponded with the end of the NBA’s regular season, which is when many developmental players often get a chance to shine. Jared Weiss of The Athletic explores how the teams’ two-way players were impacted by bouncing between getting big NBA minutes and having to prepare for a the G League championship. “That’s really the spirit of what the G League is, where you have guys moving between the leagues,” G League commissioner Shareef Abdur-Rahim said. “On any given night, you can be in a G League game and the next night play in an NBA game. That’s illuminated at this time, with how concentrated our playoffs are.” In a fun story, Weiss further explores the logistical side of being a two-way player in the G League. The Oklahoma City Blue won the championship, helped by the presence of two-way Thunder guard Lindy Waters III.
  • In the wake of former Raptors two-way big Jontay Porter being suspended for violating league gambling rules, the NBPA responded in a statement. “The NBPA exists to protect and support the interests of all 450 NBA players – both as individual players and as a collective,” the statement reads. “Adherence to league gambling policies is paramount to maintaining the integrity of our athletes and protecting the future of the sport. The NBPA will make sure Jontay has access to the resources he needs during this time, in light of the NBA’s decision. All players, including Jontay, should be afforded appropriate due process and opportunity to answer to any charges brought against them.
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