Does Jokic Deserve Another MVP?
Now that the regular NBA season is over, all eyes are on who will be named as the league’s Most Valuable Player. And for many, it’s going to be an open and shut case because there’s seemingly only one man in the running, and that’s Denver Nuggets talisman Nikola Jokic, who happened to be named MVP last year. But does he really deserve a second successive award?
As we often see, the MVP runners and riders change regularly throughout the season, usually on a month to month basis. And, it’s understandable as there are so many great players in the NBA. The likes of Steph Curry, Jayson Tatum and DeMar De Rozan all got mentions throughout the campaign, as did Luka Doncic, but now it appears as though there are three men in the frame – Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jokic.
Before we come onto whether Jokic is deserving of another MVP crown, it’s worth pointing out that the Serbian will be aiming to repeat an achievement that his rival for the title Antetokounmpo succeeded in, and that’s being named the Most Valuable Player in back-to-back campaigns. It’s an exclusive club, after all, with the likes of LeBron James, Steve Nash and Michael Jordan also consecutive winners of the NBA’s most prestigious personal honour.
Antetokounmpo, and fellow runner for the MVP title Embiid, have strong cases to win the award. Antetokounmpo, for example, has helped guide the Bucks to another season of success in the Eastern Conference, their fourth title in a row. Embiid became only the fourth centre to rank top of the scorer’s charts and the first big man to do so since Shaquille O’Neal in 1999/20. Coincidentally, O’Neal won the MVP crown the same season.
But Jokic remains the heavy favourite to collect his second MVP title in as many years. The 27-year-old has elevated his game once more, refusing to rest on his laurels. And that has been proven by improved performances and even the leadership qualities on show. Even though Embiid secured the scoring title, Jokic’s numbers have been something else, which is one of the reasons why many opted to place wagers on the Nuggets in NBA last season.
When it comes to making history, Jokic has done so in style, with 2,000 points, 1,000 assists and 500 rebounds to his name. At the same time, he had a points average of 26.8, rebounds 13.7, 8.0 for assists and his shooting from the field registered at an impressive 58.3%. There has never been a player in the entire NBA history to post an average of 25-13-8 across the same season.
And, if there was still any doubt surrounding Jokic’s credentials to make it back to back MVP awards, even Julius Erving, a 76ers icon, suggested that he should win. That’s even though Embiid is still very much in the running and turns out for the 76ers. But as Erving says, “He was MVP last year. When you get better, I don’t think you lose status.”