Josh Okogie is the 2023 winner of the Dan Majerle Hustle Award, an honor the Phoenix Suns give every year that dates all the way back to 2003 and whose past recipients include both stars and scrappy fan favorites.
The award, first bestowed upon Bo Outlaw in 2003 and most recently won by Mikal Bridges last season, is given to the member of the Phoenix Suns who “most personified the same hustle, grit and determination that Suns Ring of Honor member Majerle displayed as a player,” according to the team. PJ Tucker won the award four straight times from 2013-2016, and Bridges captured it in 2019, 2021, and 2022. Grant Hill and Shawn Marion are some other notable past winners.
The 24 year-old Okogie, who joined the Suns on a one-year deal over the summer, provided relentless energy over the course of the season. He appeared in 72 games for the Suns, including 26 starts, and averaged nearly 19 minutes per game.
Okogie was originally the 20th overall pick to the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2018 draft. Though he averaged over 20 minutes per game in his first three seasons with the Wolves, and started more often than not, he seemed to lose favor there last season and saw his minutes dip to just over 10 per game. His arrival in Phoenix was greeted with little fanfare and he figured to see only spot minutes, but his contributions were a major boost for the team at some key points of the year.
Though Okogie’s stat line won’t jump off the page, particularly his 39% shooting from the field, his relentless motor led the 6’4 Okogie to grab 9.1 rebounds per 100 possessions, good for 9th on the team and first among guards. Among Suns players with meaningful time played over the season, Okogie ranked third on the team in possession-adjusted steals behind only Chris Paul and Saben Lee.
He powered through a nose injury sustained in January, missing only scant time before returning to action in a mask, which may well represent the “grit” in the award criteria.