NBA awards finalists announced, only one Nugget nominated

Los Angeles Lakers v Denver Nuggets - Game Two
Los Angeles Lakers v Denver Nuggets - Game Two / Matthew Stockman/GettyImages

The NBA officially announced the finalists for individual awards on Sunday during the TNT broadcast. In total, there are seven individual awards up for grabs for the 2023-24 regular season: Coach of the Year, Clutch Player of the Year, Most Improved Player, Sixth Man of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, and Most Valuable Player.

The league revealed three finalists for each award and the winners will be announced one award at a time, starting Tuesday night on TNT with the Most Improved Player Award. Of the 21 finalists, there was only one player from the defending champion Denver Nuggets who was nominated; Nikola Jokic.

Jokic, of course, was nominated for the MVP Award, which he is heavily favored to win. This would be the Joker’s third MVP Award, putting him in very elite company with some of the game’s all-time greats.

The fact that Jokic was the only Nugget to receive a nomination is a pretty good reflection of just how dominant of a player he is and how much he does for his team. There was some hope that Michael Malone could be nominated for Coach of the Year, or perhaps Kentavious Caldwell-Pope could get some love for Defensive Player of the Year, but that was not the case.

Calling either of those omissions a snub feels a little harsh, but they are both certainly worthy candidates. KCP still has a chance to make an All-Defense team as those have yet to be released. 

The other nominees for MVP who are competing with Jokic are Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of the Thunder and Luka Doncic of the Mavericks. Both would be first-time winners of the prestigious award. 

SGA is also a finalist for the Clutch Player of the Year Award. The only other player nominated for two different awards is Victor Wembanyama of the Spurs who is a finalist for Rookie of the Year as well as Defensive Player of the Year.

All-NBA teams are still to come; I think it’s safe to assume Jokic will safely have a spot on the first team, but he’ll almost certainly be the only Nugget. Jamal Murray is ineligible because he missed 23 games this season and didn’t meet the 65-game threshold.