Getty Images

Mark Daigneault has won the NBA's 2023-24 Coach of the Year award. Daigneault, still only 39 years old, is the youngest coach to win the award since Doc Rivers did so as a 38-year-old in his debut 1999-00 season leading the Orlando Magic. Daigneault is now in his fourth season leading the Thunder, and his road to the top of the NBA has been somewhat unconventional.

He began as a student manager for the UConn Huskies, eventually parlaying that position into an assistant-coaching job at Holy Cross. After three seasons there, he worked as an assistant for Billy Donovan at Florida while also earning a graduate degree. He followed Donovan to the Oklahoma City organization in 2014, but served as the head coach for their G-League affiliate, the Oklahoma City Blue, from 2014 through 2019. After just one season as a full-time assistant for the Thunder, he was promoted to head coach in 2020 following Donovan's departure.

After presiding over a rebuild over the past several seasons, Daigneault's Thunder finally vaulted into contention this season behind a possible MVP campaign from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and the emergence of rookie big man Chet Holmgren. Thanks to a Nuggets loss to the Spurs on the second-to-last day of the season, the Thunder were able to clinch the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference with a blowout win over the Dallas Mavericks in their season finale. They are the youngest No. 1 seed in NBA history.

They are also among the most versatile. The Thunder were good at practically everything this season. They were one of only two teams to finish in the top four in both offense and defense, joining the 64-win Boston Celtics. No team forced more turnovers this season, but only six teams committed fewer of their own turnovers. They ranked in the top-eight in both made 3-pointers and points in the paint. Oklahoma City's only discernible weakness has been rebounding, a sacrifice Daigneault has willingly made to maximize shooting and athleticism on the floor.

Daigneault was already named the NBCA Coach of the Year, as voted on by his fellow coaches. Now, he adds the media vote to his growing list of accolades. Daigneault was already widely considered among the NBA's best young coaches. Now he has a trophy to prove it.