Nikola Jokic has been voted MVP, per @wojespn
Back-to-back for the Joker puts him in legendary company 🏆 pic.twitter.com/cQRkPr5ph7
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) May 9, 2022
It was a hotly contested MVP race this season, with many feeling that the Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid deserved the award after leading the league in scoring.
Others opined that Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Milwaukee Bucks franchise player, should’ve been awarded the MVP after yet another brilliant season at both ends of the floor.
But the people have spoken (or at least those in the media who have a vote), and Jokic is the winner.
He had a remarkable year, averaging 27.1 points, 13.8 rebounds, and 7.9 assists a game for a team that finished 48-34 in the regular season.
In a world where observers are constantly comparing today’s superstars to someone of a similar profile from yesterday, Jokic may have no equal or precedent.
Jokic Is Truly One-Of-A-Kind
There have been plenty of truly dominant big men such as Jokic, and there are a few others in the NBA right now, including Embiid, Anthony Davis and Karl-Anthony Towns.
But there has never been a center who is not only dominant offensively and on the boards but is also a great passer, which is what Jokic is.
But Chamberlain put up over six assists per game only twice, and Walton was injured at least as often as he was healthy enough to play.
In each of the last five seasons, Jokic has averaged at least six assists per game, and in each of the last four campaigns, he has been at seven assists or more a contest.
He also had 19 triple-doubles this season, which is a beastly number for any player, let alone a center.
One reason big men don’t average that many assists is because they don’t handle the ball nearly as much as guards, and they rarely ever bring the ball court and initiate offense.
Jokic, on the other hand, can not only bring the ball up the court, but he can even lead the fast break, a truly rare skill for a big man.
How bad did Nikola Jokic want to win tonight?
Look at him attacking in transition here. He outran Kawhi and Marcus Morris to set up Craig.
If Jokic doesn't sprint, Lou Williams can pick up Craig and stop the fast break. It was Jokic sprinting that gave them the edge. pic.twitter.com/cmGGH4cp5K
— T.J. McBride (@TJMcBrideNBA) September 16, 2020
The Serbia native is also a good outlet passer, which allows him to trigger Denver’s transition game in an additional way.
Good to see him back!🃏
It won't appear on the box score, but check out this inch-perfect outlet pass to initiate the fast break from Nikola Jokic.
— Sky Sports NBA (@SkySportsNBA) November 30, 2021
Nikola Jokic started the fast break with an outlet bounce pass, what a savage pic.twitter.com/SqJek9NR0b
— Off the Glass (@otgbasketball) November 1, 2019
Jokic Has Elevated The Nuggets This Season
The Nuggets looked doomed even before the season started, as starting point guard Jamal Murray suffered a torn ACL last spring and missed the entire campaign.
Murray played a key role in Denver reaching the 2020 Western Conference Finals, as he had a number of big games in the early rounds of that postseason.
Then early this season, rising star Michael Porter Jr. injured his back and missed the rest of the year.
With his many elite talents, Jokic carried a Nuggets team that some may have thought would miss the playoffs and made sure they would join the party this spring.
It was a Herculean task he undertook, and with Murray and Porter back healthy next season, the Nuggets could challenge for the Western Conference crown if everything goes right.