Nikola Jokic wins his second straight NBA MVP, makes case as greatest Nuggets player of all-time

Nikola Jokic dribbles up court. Credit: Isaiah J. Downing, USA TODAY Sports.
Nikola Jokic dribbles up court. Credit: Isaiah J. Downing, USA TODAY Sports.

Back-to-back NBA Most Valuable Player Awards.

For a Denver Nuggets player, it’s almost too good to be true.

But for Nikola Jokic, that dream has come true in two straight seasons.

Last year, Jokic became the first-ever Nuggets player to win an NBA Most Valuable Player Award, putting up then career-highs of 26.4 points, and 8.3 assists and 10.8 rebounds.

This season has been even more magical for Jokic, especially considering the burden he’s had to carry on his shoulders. No Jamal Murray — who injured his knee over a year ago — as the explosive scorer from outside or slashing the lane. That was a massive loss for the Nuggets and a reason why they were a first-round exit from the playoffs this time around.

It wasn’t just that Jokic was picking up the slack from Murray — who averaged 21.8 points, 4.8 assists per last year — but also for the injured Michael Porter Jr. Porter is a dynamic player of his own, not only a superb scorer when he’s got it going, but the young man can pull down rebounds at a strong clip, too.

The thing is about Jokic which is so refreshing is his attitude.

Many NBA players who grow up in America want all the spotlight. They dream of winning the NBA MVP. Not Jokic, though. He wants to win an NBA title.

“I don’t know,” Jokic said to Mike Singer of the Denver Post of winning a second MVP two months ago. “It doesn’t mean anything special. I’m just trying to compete, to win games.”

The Nuggets relied on multiple backups this year and still had enough talent to earn the 6th seed at 48-34 overall. Or, maybe it was the fact that Jokic carried them on his 6’11” 284-pound frame, which is part of the reason he won MVP.

Look, there’s no way the Nuggets don’t even make the playoffs without Jokic. That right there should have been enough to win him the league’s most coveted personal trophy. But he even improved his “regular” stats to new career-highs of 27.1 points, and 13.8 rebounds while still dishing out 7.9 assists per game.

That’s nearly averaging a triple-double per game — which he had 19 to lead the NBA by a wide margin — and for a big man, there’s no one who passes or sees the floor the way that Jokic does.

And that’s not even factoring in the analytics side of things. Some argued Joel Embiid deserved to win MVP, but, this tweet shows how dominant Jokic was this year:

Truly, he’s a one-in-a-generation talent. In fact, he’s got some wondering if he’s the greatest Nuggets player in the history of the franchise.

Well, first off, he’s the only one to win an NBA MVP award. And it should be noted that Jokic is now only one of three players to be named MVP when his team won 50 or less games (Moses Malone 1978-79 and 1981-82, Russell Westbrook 2016-17).

Still, is he the greatest Nuggets player ever?

According to Basketball Reference, the list is 1. Dan Issel, 2. Alex English and 3. Jokic (Carmelo Anthony is 4th). Those are all in terms of offensive win shares in which Issel has a 94.8, English 84.2 and Jokic 79.6.

Of course, that’s only one number of a ton of different metrics, including the NBA MVP.

Younger fans will certainly say Jokic is the greatest Nuggets player of all-time, and it should be noted every single NBA MVP has made the Hall of Fame.

Sensationally for the Nuggets and their Serbian superstar, he’s only 27 years old and in the middle of his prime. Denver has him as the anchor and centerpiece of their franchise, and now they only hope Murray and Porter can get back to the floor to make a real run at a title in 2022-23.

SHARE