NBA Perfect 10 Post All-Star Break Awards

Let’s take a closer look at the NBA awards if the season were to end today now that the All-Star Break is nearly behind us. These awards may not end up representing the final awards, however, as last year, 2022-23 MVP Joel Embiid was a long shot at the halfway point of the season. Here are the (More than)Halfway Home Awards for the 2023-24 NBA season.

MVP - Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets (-135)

The two-time MVP is the best player among the NBA’s defending champions and continues to produce at an astounding level. He’s 12th in the league in points per game at over 26 points per contest. Jokic is averaging nearly 12 rebounds per contest and is shooting at nearly 60%. He’s averaging nearly a triple-double a night with over nine assists a game as well. He’s tops in the league in double-doubles and triple-doubles.

Notables: Jayson Tatum (+2200) and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (+210)

Tatum needs strong consideration given his team’s record and his improved efficiency in 2023-24. Gilgeous-Alexander is a solid third choice leading the way for the upstart Oklahoma City Thunder.

Rookie of the Year: Victor Wembanyama, San Antonio Spurs (-600)

Were you expecting anyone else? The NBA’s most ballyhooed rookie since LeBron James has not disappointed thus far. Playing on a poor Spurs team, Wembanyama is averaging nearly 20 points per game, over 10 rebounds per contest, and three blocks. He is still coming into his own as a distributor but still is averaging nearly three dimes per contest. The 7”3’ wunderkind will only get better and so will the Spurs.

Notables: Chet Holmgren, OKC Thunder( +450) and Jaime Jaquez, Miami Heat (50,000)

Holmgren would be the front-runner in any other year. He is third on his team in scoring, first in rebounds, and is averaging nearly three blocks per game. Jaquez has been one of the surprise rookies of the first half and yet another find from the Heat’s front office. The UCLA product is fourth on the Heat in scoring and averaging 35% from 3-point range.

Most Improved Player of the Year: Tyrese Maxey, Philadelphia 76ers (-195)

The Sixers cut bait with veteran James Harden and they haven’t skipped a beat thanks to Maxey. He is averaging a career-high in assists and points while also leading the team in assist-to-turnover ratio. He has become the clearcut #2 scoring option for the Sixers and has helped the team play faster without increasing their turnovers.

Notables: Derrick White, Boston Celtics (+10,000) and Coby White, Chicago Bulls (+400)

To me, Derrick and Coby White (not related) fit the description of most improved much more so than players that were already established and made a jump in some categories. Derrick White has become an integral part of the Celtics’ starting five and is averaging a career-high in assists and blocked shots. Coby White has ascended to the role of starting point guard in Chicago and is finally playing the part. He is averaging nearly 19 points per game and shooting nearly 40% from 3-point range, both career-highs.

Coach of the Year: Mark Daigneault, OKC Thunder

Diagneault has certainly sped up the rebuilding project in OKC over the last two years. Last year, he helped guide his young team into the play-in round of the playoffs without having the services of Holmgren all season. This year, he has the Thunder near the top of the Western Conference standings and playing like a team that is capable of advancing at least a round in the playoffs. All this without a strong rebounding team or much veteran leadership.

Notables: Chris Finch, Minnesota Timberwolves and Joe Mazzulla, Boston Celtics

Finch has the Timberwolves fighting for the top spot in the Western Conference with the NBA’s best defense. The Wolves were highly criticized last year after adding Rudy Gobert at center in a league that is relying less and less on traditional centers. One year later, Finch has the Gobert-led defense atop the standings in nearly every defensive metric. Joe Mazzulla has continued to grow as a head coach in just his second year at the helm in Boston. He has guided the Celtics to the NBA’s best record and, after being criticized heavily in last year’s playoffs, went back to work and has the Celtics’ defense playing at a championship level.

All NBA First Team: Center - Nikola Jokic, Forwards - Jayson Tatum and Giannis Antetokounmpo, Guards - Luka Doncic and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

It is a tossup at center between Jokic and Embiid but I’m going with Jokic with his slightly more well-rounded game. Tatum has added to his game this year with better post moves and has flourished even while shooting a bit less with the addition of Porzingis. Antetokounmpo continues to put up top-tier numbers and will keep getting better as he gels with Dame Lillard. Doncic is still the league’s most dynamic player and capable of carrying the Mavericks on his back at times. Gilgeous-Alexander has played like an MVP this season and deserves the nod over several quality guards.

All-NBA Second Team: Center - Joel Embiid, Forwards - Kevin Durant and Anthony Davis, Guards - Donovan Mitchell and Jalen Brunson

Embiid could have made a strong argument for First Team until his knee injury shelved him. Despite being out for an extended period, it is hard to argue against him. Even at 35, Durant continues to perform at an elite scoring level. Anthony Davis can still be maddeningly inconsistent at times but he’s been strong for much of this season. Donovan Mitchell should get this spot without argument. He took over point guard duties with Darius Garland hurt and the Cavs played better. Jalen Brunson has been handed the reigns of the Knicks’ offense and has not disappointed.

  • In parenthesis, conference odds and finals odds. Player MVP props are also in parenthesis. All odds Courtesy of

By Mark Ruelle

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Mark Ruelle

Mark has been a sports fanatic since childhood. He is also an avid follower of sports analytics and has used it in his own betting analysis for over two decades. Now we have Mark on our team here at Stat Salt. He holds degrees in marketing, broadcasting, and English and uses this vast array of assets to dissect and analyze game matchups. Mark will provide you with a wide variety of statistics to consider and a strong opinion in each matchup that he covers. Please follow him daily for an up-to-the-minute analysis of all the important games.