Jokic captures 2nd straight NBA MVP award | Sports

DENVER — Nikola Jokic put up numbers by no means seen earlier than in NBA historical past. Not from Wilt. Not from Kareem. Not from “Air Jordan.” Not from LeBron.

With a historic season, the Denver Nuggets large man earned his second straight Most Valuable Player award, an individual with information of the choice informed The Associated Press on Monday. The NBA was getting ready to make the announcement within the coming days, doubtless this week, in accordance with the one that spoke to the AP on situation of anonymity as a result of the voting outcomes haven’t been introduced.

ESPN, citing sources, first reported that Jokic can be named MVP once more.

The 7-foot middle grew to become the primary participant in league historical past to eclipse 2,000 factors, 1,000 rebounds and 500 assists in a season. And that type of dominance by the participant nicknamed “Joker” helped persuade voters that he must be the thirteenth participant of the NBA’s unique MVP back-to-back membership.

The different finalists — who will end second and third in some order — had been Philadelphia 76ers middle Joel Embiid, who led the league in scoring common, and two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo of the reigning champion Milwaukee Bucks.

The 27-year-old Jokic averaged 27.1 factors, 13.8 rebounds and seven.9 assists on a workforce that was lacking two max gamers in Jamal Murray (ACL) and Michael Porter Jr. (again). Required to hold the load evening out and in, the large man from Sombor, Serbia, answered the decision and guided the Nuggets to a 48-win season. They earned the No. 6 seed within the West earlier than shedding in 5 video games to the Golden State Warriors within the opening spherical of the playoffs.

“It’s just remarkable what he’s done,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone not too long ago stated of Jokic. “I know that I’m very biased, I admit it wholeheartedly — the MVP isn’t even a competition. There’s other great players, I’m not saying they’re not great players, but what Nikola Jokic has done this year, with this team, with everything that we’ve had to go through, is incredible.”

The award is probably going the beginning of an enormous offseason for Jokic, who’s eligible for a supermax extension that might assure him almost $254 million over 5 seasons beginning with 2023-24. He’ll make $32.4 million subsequent season.

“There’s nothing more important” than conserving Jokic, Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly not too long ago stated.

Jokic joins rarefied firm in profitable for a second straight season. The different gamers to win two in a row embrace Antetokounmpo, Stephen Curry, LeBron James (twice), Steve Nash, Tim Duncan, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Moses Malone and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (twice). Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell every gained the award in three straight seasons.

Next 12 months, Jokic can have his likelihood at a threepeat as properly.

The award comes as no shock to his teammates. They had a front-row seat to his efficiency each evening.

Guard Bones Hyland posted on Twitter: “Man.. All year I’ve been saying it, I just woke up happier then ever like I won the award!! I’m so proud of my boy man!! Great Player but a even better Leader & Great Role model! Thanks for showing me the ropes this year Jokey! Congrats Ma Brother.”

Former Nuggets coach George Karl posted: “Incredible Jokic! He earned it. He was better this year than last and carried his team all season.”

Known for his pinpoint passing as a lot as his delicate contact, Jokic completed with a league-leading 19 triple-doubles. The forty first choose of the 2014 draft now has 76 in his profession, which trails solely Chamberlain (78) amongst facilities.

After being knocked out of the playoffs — he averaged 31 factors, 13.2 rebounds — Jokic was requested how he may have a good time ought to he win MVP.

“Probably with some music, beer, friends around, family,” he stated. “Like how you’re supposed to do probably.

“But if I don’t get it, I’m not going to die. I’m just going to keep playing, keep trying to play the right way like I did my whole life.”

There was a time when the Jokic was maligned for his recreation. More particularly, his protection and never with the ability to soar. His once-pudgy body — Spurs coach Gregg Popovich good-naturedly ribbed him about it — has extra power to it.

Ever hassle him that his recreation doesn’t appear to generate the extent of respect as different standout gamers?

“Can’t care less, brother,” Jokic stated.

He sees the court docket with the readability of a degree guard and has an arsenal of pictures that features clean child hooks across the rim and a delicate 3-point contact.

Popovich had the apropos reply when requested if it was extra necessary to remove Jokic’s shot makes an attempt or passes: “I don’t think anybody has figured that out,” he stated. “He’s a great one.”

Jokic cares immensely about profitable — video games, not {hardware}. He’s not one to foyer on his personal behalf, simply letting his numbers do his speaking. Last season when he gained, he averaged 26.4 factors, 10.8 boards and eight.3 assists. This season, he took his recreation to a different stage in making his fourth straight All-Star workforce.

“If that’s enough, it’s enough,” he stated. “If not, you cannot control that.”

Funny story about his MVP trophy from a season in the past: A couple of weeks in the past, he stated he wasn’t precisely positive the place it was as his household strikes.

“It is here in Denver,” Jokic not too long ago cracked.

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