Since the start of the season, Nikola Jokić has been one of, if not, the odds-on favorite for MVP. At the start of the year, the NBA MVP Race was incredibly close, with Joel Embiid, Stephen Curry, and Trae Young being among the other early-season favorites. However, as other players have entered and left the conversation, two players have remained in the regular discussion. Embiid and Jokić. However, as more and more players address the media saying “they feel like they’re the MVP”, Jokić has done all his talking on the court.
NBA MVP Race: Nikola Jokić’s Race to Lose
How the NBA MVP Race has Developed
There has been a revolving door of players in the NBA MVP Race. The pre-season contenders of Curry, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Luka Dončić gave way to Jokić and Embiid as the frontrunners. There has been a myriad of other players in the conversation. Some of those players have said to the media that they deserve the award. Curry, Embiid, and James Harden all saying that they are the MVP. However, on the court is where Jokić has done his talking. Jokić is averaging career highs in almost all categories and leads his team in all but one major category. The big man from Serbia is averaging 26.4 points, 8.7 assists, and 11.0 rebounds. All of which are career highs by a large margin.
Beyond the individual statistics, the thing that separates his MVP bid is his team play. The Denver Nuggets currently sit as the fourth seed in the western conference with a record of 38-20. They have been a force all season long. Furthermore, what bolsters Jokić’s MVP chances, even more, is what he’s been able to do when his team needs him most. When Jamal Murray went down with a season-ending ACL tear, it looked to be a huge blow for Denver. Murray has been lights out all season and losing him is incredibly impactful. However, in the eight games, Murray has missed so far, Jokić has fueled his team to a 7-1 record. One of those wins featuring a two-point win over the Memphis Grizzlies as Jokić put up 47 points.
Where Everything Currently Stands
With Murray out for the season, Jokić has the opportunity to even further solidify his position as the MVP. While other MVP candidates who claim they deserve the award are unable to win without their team, Jokić has buckled down and got to work. With 14 games left for the Nuggets, if Jokić can keep up this pace without Murray he will be the MVP. The only true threat for MVP is Embiid. However, Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers are currently on a three-game losing streak and will need Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris back to return to winning form. Jokić has an opportunity with the Nuggets having games against top teams. If can win those games and be the reason why he will win the NBA MVP. Jokić has been leading this race all season, now he just has to finish.
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