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Tyrese Maxey has won the NBA's 2023-24 Most Improved Player award, the league announced Tuesday. He narrowly beat Bulls guard Coby White to win the honor. Maxey, now in his fourth year playing for the Philadelphia 76ers, has been essential to the team while playing, at times, as their only available All-Star.

Maxey averaged 20.3 points per game last season, but did so playing alongside James Harden and Joel Embiid. Harden demanded a trade during the offseason, though, and after he successfully forced his way to the Los Angeles Clippers, Maxey took over as Philadelphia's primary ball-handler. He flourished in the role, averaging just under 26 points per game for a 76ers team that likely would have been the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference were it not for Joel Embiid's torn meniscus.

With Harden gone and Embiid injured, the job of keeping the 76ers afloat fell to Maxey. While the team was hardly flawless at 16-27 without Embiid, Maxey did just enough to give the 76ers home-court advantage over the Miami Heat in their first play-in game. That proved critical in the 105-104 victory that ultimately got them into the playoffs.

Maxey got 51 of the 100 first-place votes, white White got 32 and Alperen Sengun of the Rockets -- the other finalist for the award -- got six. Here's the voting breakdown:

Maxey is the latest in a nearly decade-long trend of Most Improved Player winners that all checked similar boxes. Maxey is the eighth winner in a row who was a first-time All-Star, a former first-round pick and within his first five seasons in the NBA. The last player not to check all three boxes was CJ McCollum back in 2016. While Maxey was already a very productive player that averaged over 20 points per game last season, the voters are rewarding him for making what is likely the most difficult and important improvement a player can make: from a good starter to a legitimate star.

Maxey's growth into that star has been one of the only things holding the 76ers together in the wake of Harden's departure. Now Embiid has a long-term partner to lead this team into the future, and with max cap space coming this summer, the 76ers are primed to contend for years to come.