Trying to figure out who could win some of the NBA’s awards this season seems like a tall order, and it’s always a monumental endeavor because you never want to feel like you haven’t done the work associated with the pick. This year is no different, especially for a few awards.
We’re going to look at Most Valuable Player primarily because it’s the most talked about award and, truth be told, it’s the most valuable simply because it’s the most prestigious award in the NBA. At least for the regular season, that is. Essentially, if you win MVP, your Hall of Fame odds improve dramatically, and you’re pretty much locked in.
Despite the fact that the LA Clippers don’t have any players who would even come close to being considered for this award, it’s rather fascinating to discuss, especially to me since I’ve seen each of the three favorites in person of my own. eyes during their respective illustrious performances. seasons. I guess in a way – and it’s just me trying to convince myself that I’m more important than I actually am – it gives me a unique perspective.
Analyzing who should receive the award is a difficult task. And in doing so, it’s best to remember that it’s not because a player is deemed more deserving. does not want to say that other players don’t deserve or haven’t had amazing seasons themselves. They are all the elite of the elite. They are at the top of their game. Enjoy it in this context.
The rating on the favorite for the price, according to DraftKingsand the player I would choose to win is Denver nuggets big man superstar Nikola Jokic (-320), a player who is in contention for the disguised title of best singular attacking ecosystem. It is a hub in its own right.
To illustrate this, consider that Denver was without Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr., their second and third leading scorers last season. According to last season’s figures, it’s 40.2 points per game actually lost.
Any team struggles without two of their top three players, and the Nuggets have had their own lulls this season. But what helped Denver navigate this unenviable road was the simple fact that last year’s MVP Jokic was even better this season. Jokic, to date, has played 74 games for his team. He is averaging 27.1 points, 13.8 rebounds, 7.9 assists, 1.5 steals and 0.9 blocks. All but the assists are career highs.
On top of that, Jokic is shooting 58.3% from the field – also a career high. That mark is carried by a ridiculous 65.2% shooting from 2s, a truly staggering figure considering that 51.2% of his 2-point attempts come from outside three feet. It’s not layups and dunks. These are hard, contested, high-arched midrange shots that defy the logic of gravity and distort what we think is possible on a basketball court.
The Nuggets collapsed without him on the floor, as expected. For the season, according to Cleaning The Glass, Denver has been 19.7 points per 100 possessions better with Jokic on the ground versus off, the league’s highest rating among players to log at least 1,000 minutes. Last year the Nuggets were 6.4 points per 100 possessions better with Jokic on the ground compared to off. Now realize that this number has triple. This is the load he carries. And he delivers.
We are not going to delve into all the numbers put forward. By now, if you’re scrolling through Twitter or Facebook or Instagram or whatever your social media choice is, you’ve seen the numbers before, or you’re even tired of looking at them. Yet there is a simple way to explain the sheer absurdity Jokic has achieved this season, and why he should eventually win his second MVP trophy.
Jokic is officially the first player in NBA history to finish a season with at least 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 500 assists. He is the 58th player to have registered at least 2000 points and 1000 rebounds, but none of these players has even reached 500 assists. Before this season, the player came closest to these two plateaus and 500 assists was Wilt Chamberlain in 1965-66 when he finished with 414 assists. Jokic has 584. That’s 21 more assists than LaMelo Ball, and they’ve played the same number of games.
The man is fifth in total points, first in total rebounds and sixth in total assists. His 109 interceptions also rank in the top 10. That’s a masterclass. What we are witnessing has never been done before. And when you see this level of story happening right before your eyes, it can be a little hard to realize that it’s Actually event. You become desensitized to greatness.
It’s not just the numbers. And it’s not just the fact that his team is without its second and third best players. It is How? ‘Or’ What the team played in the wake of it all. Those two, Murray and Porter, combined to play 265 minutes – all by Porter, and none of those minutes have happened since Nov. 6. When Porter went down, the Nuggets were 5-4. For the season, Denver is 48-33. They are 46-28 overall when Jokic plays.
People might look at the standings and see Denver in sixth place, and they might assume it wasn’t such a great season. But even compared to the other two major contenders, Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo, it was a hugely successful year. Embiid’s Philadelphia 76ers are 49-31 while Antetokounmpo Milwaukee dollars are 50-30. It’s not huge discrepancies in terms of record, especially when adjusting for teammates Jokic missed.
Jokic leads his team in points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks and field goal percentage. He’s the only player in the league to do that, and the closest player is Dallas’ Luka Doncic. But unfortunately for Doncic, he doesn’t lead the Mavericks in blocks or field goal percentage.
This has been an all-time historic campaign by Jokic. It’s one we’re going to remember for a very long time, and it’s something he should definitely be rewarded for. If he doesn’t win it, everything will be fine. He already has one at home that he can look at whenever he wants. But gaining a second would put him in rarefied air.
Either way, what Nikola Jokic has been able to accomplish this season in the face of overwhelming odds and huge odds is both awe-inspiring and mesmerizing. Watching him hold a basketball and bend every defense to his liking is truly a joy to watch. His artistry and mastery of the game are on a level that so few have ever been able to achieve, and it’s beautiful to see.
Whether or not Jokic wins his second MVP ultimately doesn’t matter. What matters is that we all enjoyed the trip and didn’t diminish it along the way. Not only for him but also for the other candidates. Sometimes you need to enjoy the game, and Jokic has made that possible on many nights throughout this season as he looks set, based on the odds, to win his second straight MVP award.