Nuggets center Nikola Jokic said he didn’t know where his MVP trophy is.
Soon, he’ll get another to keep track of.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic has been voted the NBA’s Most Valuable Player for a second consecutive season, sources tell ESPN. A formal announcement is expected this week.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 9, 2022
A former second-round pick, Jokic joins a select class of players with consecutive MVPs:
Jokic and the NBA have already moved on from the regular season, when Jokic earned this award. His Nuggets were eliminated in the first round, his defensive vulnerabilities a factor. He’s preparing to sign a super-max contract extension this offseason. The second round of the playoffs is in full swing (with fellow finalists Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo still competing).
So, the timing is anti-climactic.
But Jokic is the deserving winner.
The Nuggets with Jokic, 76ers with Embiid and Bucks with Antetokounmpo each performed at similar levels with their stars on the court in the regular season. Jokic had the least help. Despite Jamal Murray missing the entire season and Michael Porter Jr. unhelpful/sidelined all year, Jokic lifted Denver to a 48-34 record. Jokic was uniquely excellent – the best-passing center of all-time, a highly efficient scorer from all levels and an improved defender.
This will cause some bitterness in Philadelphia. Unfounded rumors last week Embiid would be named MVP only add to the disapointment.
But this result is no surprise to anyone tracking the votes. Jokic had a critical mass of support (for the wrong reasons, Embiid supporters claim).
Unfairly, MVP winners usually must meet a higher standard to repeat. Voter fatigue sets in. The incumbent must top his prior performance in addition to topping other candidates.
Jokic did that. Better than ever, he has even further established himself among the NBA’s all-time greats.