The NBA season has just crossed its halfway point. Around this time of the year, fans speculate about who will make the All-Star team and who might get snubbed; however, the more important discussion this season revolves around the MVP race. While most seasons feature a couple of players worthy of the award, the 2022-23 season is a special case. There are nearly a dozen MVP candidates, which is unheard of for this point in the season. Although Steph Curry, Joel Embiid, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, Ja Morant, Jayson Tatum, and many others are throwing their names into the mix, there is only one clear choice for MVP this season: Nikola Jokic.
Why Nikola Jokic Won’t Win MVP
Jokic’s Case for MVP
The Denver Nuggets’ reigning back-to-back MVP needs few reasons to be in the running for the award this season. His stats – 24.9 points per game, 11.0 rebounds per game, and 9.7 assists per game – speak for themselves. He ranks 20th in points per game, seventh in rebounds per game, and fourth in assists per game. This makes him arguably the most complete player in the league.
On top of this, his team is healthy and winning games. Due to injuries last season, Jokic had little help and somehow willed his team to the playoffs. This season, the Nuggets are completely healthy and sit atop the Western Conference standings with a 28-13 record.
If Jokic’s heroics on a poor playoff team were enough to garner an MVP, then his heroics on a top-seeded, championship-contending team should be more than enough to earn the rare back-to-back-to-back MVP honors.
Why Jokic Won’t Win MVP This Season
Unfortunately, the deck is stacked against the “Joker” this season. A little thing called voter fatigue will likely play a role in Jokic not receiving a third consecutive MVP. One might say that very thing cost Antetokounmpo a third straight MVP nod in the 2020-21 season, which coincidentally was Jokic’s first MVP season.
With a plethora of aforementioned players competing for the award this season, it is highly unlikely that the Joker will be the trump card for the third straight time. If just one of them goes “MVP mode” towards the end of the season, then they will have a tremendous shot at securing the coveted award.
The Last Word on Jokic
This is not to say that Jokic cannot go berserk and earn another trophy for his collection. Due to voter fatigue, however, it may be Jokic versus the field in voters’ minds. Although the correct bet might be to take the Joker, the smart bet is on the field this season.