NBA Awards: Award Categories, History and Latest Odds

The NBA Awards, in partnership with Turner Sports, was created to recognize the top performers of the NBA season.

The nominees for each award are announced during NBA on TNT broadcasts. The winners of each award are announced at the ceremony, as decided upon by a panel of sports broadcaster across Canada and the USA.

In addition, certain fan-voted categories are decided through the NBA website or via social media.

The ceremony occurs following the NBA Finals but before the NBA Draft. Broadcast occurs live on TNT, with a designated host sharing duties with the Inside the NBA team.

NBA Most Valuable Player Award

Since 1956 the NBA has awarded the most outstanding player of the season the Maurice Podoloff Trophy, named in honor of the first commissioner of the NBA.

Until 1980, the MVP was chosen by a vote of NBA players. From 1981 and on, the MVP Award has been decided upon by a panel of sportswriters.

The choice is made via a points system. Members of the voting panel cast votes for first through fifth place selections: first-place is worth 10 points, second-place is worth seven points, third-place is worth five points, fourth-place is worth three points, and fifth-place is worth one point. In 2010, one ballot is cast by fans via online voting.

The MVP Award has been won by some of the greatest players to grace the basketball court. Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain, Magic Johnson, and LeBron James top the list. Every player that has won the MVP Award has been nominated to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

Top Multiple Time Winners

  • (C) Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – Milwaukee Bucks (3)/Los Angeles Lakers (3) – ’71, ’72, ’74, ’76, ’77, ’80
  • (C) Bill Russell – Boston Celtics – ’58, ’61, ’62, ’63, ’65
  • (G) Michael Jordan – Chicago Bulls – ’88, ’91, ’92, ’96, ’98

International Presence

  • (C) Hakeem Olajuwon – Houston Rockets – Nigeria
  • (F) Tim Duncan – San Antonio Spurs – US Virgin Islands
  • (G) Steve Nash (2x) – Phoenix Suns – Canada
  • (F) Dirk Nowitzki – Dallas Mavericks – Germany
  • (F) Giannis Antetokounmpo – Milwaukee Bucks – Greece

NBA Rookie of the Year

The odds for the NBA Awards are provided by DraftKings Sportsbook.

NBA Rookie of the Year Odds

Winner DraftKings Odds
Ja Morant -670
Zion Williamson +300
R. J. Barett +10000
PJ Washington +10000
Coby White +10000
Kendrick Nunn +10000

The NBA Rookie of the Year award is given to the top rookie of the regular season. Winners are awarded the Eddie Gottlieb Trophy, as selected by a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters from the United States and Canada.

Of Rookie of the Year Winners, 21 of those winners have been the first overall pick in the NBA Draft. There have also been 16 eventual MVP winners out of the Rookie of the Year class. Two Rookies of the Year, Wes Unseld and Wilt Chamberlain won the honor simultaneously with the Most Valuable Player award.

International Presence

The Rookie of the Year award has been dominated by American players and every winner has been selected in the NBA Draft. As the NBA has expended its reach, a number of international prospects have made their name by winning the trophy themselves. Legendary forward Pau Gasol broke the seal for international players, being the first non-American to win the award.

  • (G) Luka Doncic – Dallas Mavericks – Slovenia
  • (G) Ben Simmons – Philadelphia 76ers – Australia
  • (C) Karl-Anthony Towns – Minnesota Timberwolves – Dominican Republic
  • (F) Andrew Wiggins – Minnesota Timberwolves – Canada
  • (F) Pau Gasol – Memphis Grizzlies – Spain

Co-Rookies of the Year

Expectations for rookies are rarely high. Due to the jump in competition level, teams are modest in their expectation, foreseeing only a singular stellar performance. However, sometimes, multiple players are given the honor.

  • (C) Dave Cowens & (G) Geoff Petrie – 1970-1971
  • (F) Grant Hill & (G) Jason Kidd – 1994-1995
  • (F) Elton Brand & (G) Steve Francis – 1999-2000

NBA Defensive Player of the Year

Awarded annually since 1982-1983, the Defensive Player of the Year is given to the standout defensive performer of the season.

Dominant defensive players are hard to come by and the award has been mostly won by centers. Some of the leagues’ best shot-blockers, pickpockets, and man-to-man defenders are former NBA Defensive Players of the Year. Other notable defensive players have found themselves on the NBA All-Defensive Team.

Four-Time Winners

  • (C) Dikembe Mutombo – Denver Nuggets, Atlanta Hawks (2), Philadelphia 76ers – 2001, 1998, 1997, 1995
  • (C) Ben Wallace – Detroit Pistons – 2006, 2005, 2003, 2002

Three-Time Winners

  • (C) Dwight Howard – Orlando Magic – 2011, 2010, 2009

Two-Time Winners

  • (C) Rudy Gobert – Utah Jazz – 2019, 2018
  • (F) Kawhi Leonard – San Antonio Spurs – 2016, 2015
  • (C) Alonzo Mourning – Miami Heat – 2000, 1999
  • (C) Hakeem Olajuwon – Houston Rockets – 1994, 1993
  • (F) Dennis Rodman – Detroit Pistons – 1991, 1990
  • (F) Sidney Moncrief – Milwaukee Bucks – 1984, 1983

NBA Sixth Man of the Year

NBA 6th Man of the Year Odds

Winner DraftKings Odds
Schröder, Dennis -134
Montrezl Harrell +225
Louis Williams +225
Goran Dragic +6600
Jordan Clarkson +10000
Jerami Grant +10000
George Hill +10000
Derrick Rose +10000
Bogdan Bogdanovic +10000
Bertāns, Dāvis +10000
Eric Gordon +25000
Serge Ibaka +25000
Patty Mills +25000
Terrence Ross +25000
Kyle Kuzma +25000
Rajon Rondo +25000
Dwight Howard +25000

The NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award is an annual award that has been given out since the 1982-1983 season. It celebrates the league’s top-performing player whose contributions are earned as a member of the bench.

To win this award, a player does not have to exclusively be a member of their teams’ bench unit but must have a majority of his appearances as a substitute.

Out of 30 players to win the award, the winners have been dominated by scoring-adept guards. On occasion, big men have been winners of the award as well. As the NBA has awarded rebounding and paint protection, as much as it does scoring.

Multiple-Time Winners

  • (G) Jamal Crawford – Atlanta Hawks, LA Clippers (2) – 2010, 2014, 2016
  • (G) Lou Williams – Toronto Raptors, LA Clippers (2) – 2015, 2018, 2019
  • (F) Detlef Schrempf – Indiana Pacers (2) – 1991, 1992
  • (G) Ricky Pierce – Milwaukee Bucks (2) – 1987, 1990
  • (F) Kevin McHale – Boston Celtics (2) – 1984, 1985

NBA Most Improved Player

NBA Most Improved Player of the Year Odds

Winner DraftKings Odds
Brandon Ingram +150
Bam Adebayo +300
Jayson Tatum +400
Luka Doncic +500
Devonte’ Graham +1000
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander +1600
Domantas Sabonis +5000
Trae Young +5000
Jaylen Brown +8000
Malcolm Brogdon +10000
Markelle Fultz +10000
Jaren Jackson Jr. +10000
Luke Kennard +10000
Fred VanVleet +10000
Andrew Wiggins +10000
Davis Bertans +10000
Mohamed Bamba +15000
Alex Caruso +15000
Aaron Gordon +15000
Dejounte Murray +15000
Josh Okogie +15000
Norman Powell +15000
Terry Rozier +15000
Collin Sexton +15000
TJ Warren +15000
Derrick White +15000
Jarett Allen +15000
Aaron Baynes +15000
Moritz Wagner +15000

The NBA Most Improved Player of the Year Award is given to a player that has shown the most personal progress during the regular season, as compared to their previous years. This is not limited to scoring, but all categories.

Jumps in role with a team have bolstered players’ chances for the award, while one-off seasons of fantastic production have been found as well.

This award tends to reward players whose leaps in production also denote a leap in expectation.

A player has never won the Most Improved Player Award more than once, seeing as expectations are risen after winning.

Only a single player who has won the Most Improved Player Award has been inducted to the NBA Hall of Fame – Tracy McGrady. Winners of the award tend to go on to achieve further accolades:

Most Improved Player to NBA Most Valuable Player

(F) Giannis Antetokounmpo – Milwaukee Bucks – MIP 2017 – MVP 2019

Most Improved Player Award Winners Who Became NBA All-Stars

Alvin Robertson (’86), Dana Barros (’95), Tracy McGrady (’01), Jermaine O’Neal (’02), Danny Granger (’09), Kevin Love (’11), Paul George (’13), Jimmy Butler (’15), Giannis Antetokounmpo (’17), Victor Oladipo (’18), Dale Ellis (’87), Kevin Johnson (’89), Gilbert Arenas (’03), Zach Randolph (’04), Goran Dragic (’14), Pascal Siakam (’19).

NBA Coach of the Year

The NBA Coach of the Year Award rewards the Red Auerbach Trophy, named after the head coach who led the Boston Celtics to nine of its NBA Championships.

The winner is selected from a panel of sportswriters from the USA and Canada. The award isn’t given to the coach with the best record on the season, but to a coach who has shown to have a massive impact on the success of their team compared to previous years.

Attached to this award are some of the greatest basketball minds in the history of the sport. Some former players and others basketball academics, their impact on the game and its players will be forever felt.

Three-Time Coach of the Year Winners

  • Don Nelson – Milwaukee Bucks (2), Golden State Warriors – 1983, 1985, 1992
  • Pat Riley – Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks, Miami Heat – 1990, 1993, 1997
  • Gregg Popovich – San Antonio Spurs (3) – 2003, 2012, 2014

Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year

Established in 2012, the Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year trophy is awarded to the player that exemplifies the ideal teammate and selfless play, commitment, and dedication to the team.

The award is named after Jack Twyman and Maurice Stokes.

The two were teammates on the Royals from 1955-1958, until a head injury ended the career of Maurice Stokes. As a result of the injury, Stokes became paralyzed – at that point, Twyman became the legal guardian of his former teammate Stokes until his passing in 1970.

Each year six players from each conference are selected by a panel of “NBA Legends” as nominees for the award. The winners are then voted upon by NBA players via a weighted point system.

As a part of the reward, the NBA makes a $25,000 donation to the charity of the winner’s choice.


  • (G) Chauncey Billups – LA Clippers – 2013
  • (F) Shane Battier – Miami Heat – 2014
  • (F) Tim Duncan – San Antonio Spurs – 2015
  • (G) Vince Carter – Memphis Grizzlies – 2016
  • (F) Dirk Nowitzki – Dallas Mavericks – 2017
  • (G) Jamal Crawford – Minnesota Timberwolves – 2018
  • (G) Mike Conley Jr. – Memphis Grizzlies – 2019

NBA Cares Community Assist Award

The NBA Cares Community Assist Award is internally voted upon, rewarding players for community engagement, philanthropic activity, and charity work.

The award has been given out both during and after the season in a cumulative and monthly format.

The winner is presented the David Robinson Plaque, inscribed on it “Following the standard set by NBA Legend David Robinson, who improved the community piece by piece.”

NBA Sportsmanship Award

The NBA Sportsmanship Award has been given out since the 1995-1996 season.

It is awarded to the player who “exemplifies the ideals of sportsmanship on the court with ethical behavior, fair play, and integrity.”

Named after its inaugural winner Joe Dumars, it is equivalent to its sister league the WNBA’s Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award.

Each year all 30 NBA teams nominate a single player from their team for the award. From the nominees, one player from each division is selected by a panel as the divisional winners of the Sportsmanship Award.

At the conclusion of the regular season, players in the NBA vote upon the nominees via a weighted points system.

Multiple-Time NBA Sportsmanship Award Winners

  • (F) Grant Hill – Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns (2) – 2005, 2008, 2010
  • (G) Mike Conley Jr. – Memphis Grizzlies (3) – 2014, 2016, 2019
  • (G) Kemba Walker – Charlotte Hornets (2) – 2017, 2018
  • (G) Jason Kidd – Dallas Mavericks, New York Knicks – 2012, 2013

NBA Lifetime Achievement Award

The NBA Lifetime Achievement Award is given to a former NBA Player who has achieved exemplary success both on and off the basketball court.

Via a fantastic NBA career and impactful work as a member of society, recipients of the NBA’s Lifetime Achievement Award are some of the best to ever call the NBA home.

NBA Lifetime Achievement Award Winners

Bill Russell (Boston Celtics) (2017), Oscar Robertson (Cincinnati Royals, Milwaukee Bucks) (2018), Larry Bird (Boston Celtics) and Magic Johnson (Los Angeles Lakers) (2019)

NBA Hustle Award

The NBA Hustle Award is the newest NBA Awards.

It is awarded to the player with the highest aggregate hustle score each year. It is calculated by a minimum of 50 games played, a minimum average of 15 minutes per game, accumulated hustle stats including screen assists, deflections, loose balls recovered, charges drawn, and shots contested.

The winner of the inaugural NBA Hustle Award was Marcus Smart of the Boston Celtics.

NBA Executive of the Year Award

The NBA Executive of the Year Award recognizes notable achievements by an NBA team’s General Manager.

Before 2009, the Executive of the Year Award was presented by Sporting News but was later recognized officially by the NBA. Voting is conducted by executives of each of the NBA’s 30 teams. The GM with the most votes wins the award.

Sager Strong Award

The Sager Strong Award was established in 2017 in honor of longtime NBA reporter Craig Sager (1951-2016). It is presented to an individual who “Has been a trailblazer while exemplifying courage, faith, compassion, and grace.”

Rather than receiving a trophy, the winner receives a replica blazer which mimics the flamboyant style of Craig Sager.

NBA Awards FAQ

How many NBA Awards are there?

In total there are 12 NBA Awards given to outstanding teams, players, and coaches.

Who won the NBA MVP 2019?

Giannis Antetokounmpo won 2019 MVP.

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