Nikola Jokic has been named the MVP of the NBA. This is a historic announcement. Jokic is not only the first Denver Nugget to ever win the illustrious award but he is also the lowest drafted player to accomplish this feat.
Nikola Jokic Named NBA MVP
The Nuggets drafted Jokic with the 41st pick in the 2014 Draft. The 26-year-old center quickly established himself, making the 2016 All-Rookie First Team while coming off the bench. A three-time All-Star, Jokic has been the heart and soul of the Nuggets. He has led them to the playoffs in each season since 2018-19. The two-time All-Pro is the fifth player in league history born outside of the United States to win the award, following Giannis Antetokounmpo, Dirk Nowitzki, Steve Nash, and Hakeem Olajuwon.
A Season to Remember
Jokic led the Nuggets in points, rebounds, and assists this season. He also finished in the top three in the league in both points and assists this season. His 60 double-doubles led the league and he trailed only Russell Westbrook in triple-doubles, amassing 16 of those as well. The big man’s touch from the outside and his passing ability are what set him apart from other top centers in the league. While many seven-footers have added long-range jumpers to their game, few can impact an offensive with their passing the way Jokic can. This season, he averaged 26.4 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 8.3 assists per game. This assist average is second all-time for centers in a season, falling just short of Wilt Chamberlain’s record 8.6.
Postseason and Beyond
Jokic has upped his scoring efforts in the playoffs to make up for the loss of Jamal Murray. Jokic’s assist numbers are down so far, but he is still averaging a double-double each game. The Nuggets survived an exciting six-game series with the Portland Trail Blazers. The game five double-overtime thriller was arguably the best game in the first round. Jokic had a key bucket and a beautiful assist in the game’s final minutes to help seal the victory for Denver. The once ‘stiff’ center, who was a defensive liability in his early years has established himself as one of the biggest stars in the NBA. His offensive prowess and basketball IQ should keep the Nuggets in the thick of the Western Conference title chase for years to come.
Jokic has little time to celebrate his historic day. The Nuggets took a tough loss to the Phoenix Suns in game one of the Western Conference Semifinals. If Denver is to make another run at the Conference Finals, then they will need a stellar performance from the MVP.
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