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Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault wins 2023-24 NBA Coach of the Year

Mark Daigneault Thunder
Mark Daigneault, in his fourth season at the helm, led the Thunder to the No. 1 seed in the West. (Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports)

Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault wins 2023-24 NBA Coach of the Year

After leading the Oklahoma City Thunder to the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, head coach Mark Daigneault was named the 2023-24 Coach of the Year, the league announced Sunday evening.

Daigneault took home the award over Orlando’s Jamahl Mosley and Minnesota’s Chris Finch, who were the other two finalists for the award. According to the voting results, Daigneault received 89 of the 100 first-place votes; Mosely received four with 36 second-place votes and 30 third-place votes; Finch received one first-place vote, 23 second-place votes and 31 third-place votes.

The other head coaches to receive at least one first-place vote were Boston’s second-year head man Joe Mazzula, New York’s Tom Thibodeau and Miami’s Erik Spoelstra, who’s regarded as arguably the best coach in the NBA.

Daigneault, an innovative mind, certainly makes a case for being the best young coach in the league. The 39-year-old has improved the Thunder’s win totals in each of his four years at the helm–including a 16-win leap from 2021-22 to 2022-23 and a 17-win leap from 2022-23 to this season. There are better barometers to judge improvement than just the win-loss column, but those aforementioned leaps aren’t nothing.

Better yet, Oklahoma City featured the second-best adjusted NET Rating in basketball this season–NET Rating based on strength of schedule–trailing only the Boston Celtics, according to dunksandthrees.com. The Thunder sported the 15th-best NET Rating a year ago and the third-worst in 2021-22.

Daigneault has done a remarkable job developing their young core, spearheaded by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Chet Holmgren, Jalen Williams and Jaylin Williams. They may be young, but Gilgeous-Alexander is a fearless, composed, charismatic leader that the rest of the team exemplifies–including Daigneault. Not to mention, they also have 1,479,980 over 30 combined first- and second-round picks at their disposal. Scary, right?

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