Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic was named the NBA’s MVP for the 2021 season. He becomes the first Denver Nuggets player to earn that honor and he is also the lowest ranked draft pick to claim the award.
Drafted 41st in the 2014 NBA Draft, Jokic usurps Steve Nash as the player drafted latest to land the prestigious prize.
He is the third player hailing from Europe after Dirk Nowitzki (Germany) and Giannia Antetokounmpo (Greece) to earn the honor.
He was a clear winner too, with 971 total points ahead of 76ers star Joel Embiid with 586 with Golden State Warriors point-scoring machine Steph Curry in third with 453 points.
Out of 101 ballots, Jokic received 91 first placed votes, thus making him the clear winner.
Part of the reasoning behind the award has been Jokic’s durability. He has played in all 72
games in the regular season for the Nuggets, as well as all their playoff games thus far.
He averaged career-best figures of 26.4 points and 8/4 assists per game. He also averaged 10.9 rebounds per game along with 1.32 steals.
Only Oscar Robertson and Russell Westbrook have managed to average over 26 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists or more in a season prior ro Jokic’s efforts this year.
He is also the first center to win the award since Shaquille O’Neal in 2000.
It’s a stellar rise for Jokic who came from playing Serbian League baseball as a youngster to be drafted by Denver in 2014. He played one final year in his homeland before joining the Nuggets a year after he was drafted.
In an interview after being notified of his win, Jokic commented:
“It’s a big accomplishment, but it’s something that, like I said to the guys, it’s not just me. I couldn’t to it by myself. It’s something that is an individual award but it’s the effort of everybody who is part of the Denver Nuggets organization.”
Not long after, Jokic was in action in the Nuggets second game in the series in the NBA Playoffs second round against the Phoenix Suns.
Jokic Stars Again But Nuggets Fall To 0-2 Against Spritely Suns
As befitting the latest NBA MVP, Jokic produced the best individual performance on the night for his Denver Nuggets team, netting 24 points, 13 rebounds and 6 assists, but even that wasn’t enough to stop the Phoenix Suns taking a 2-0 lead in the series.
While stopping Jokic was a tall order for the Suns, their defense managed to keep out the Nuggets other key men with the next highest scorer on the team being Michael Porter and back up Paul Millsap who both scored 11 points each.
No Suns player netted more than 18 points in the game, Devin Booker the player to achieve that along wit 10 rebounds and 2 assists. However, Chris Paul contributed another solid 17, as well as 15 vital assists, Mikal Bridges hit 16 points and Deandre Ayton 15.
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The Suns never lost a quarter, opening up a four-point lead in the first and then extending that lead by a further six, nine and then another six points in the remaining three quarters for a very comfortable 123-98 victory.
The 2-0 Suns now head to Colorado for the next two games in the series knowing they are in a strong position. However, they lost both encounters to the Nuggets in Colorado in the regular season, both games going the way of Denver in overtime.
The home side will be hoping their NBA MVP star Jokic gets a little more support from his team mates in the next game of the series which takes place on Friday evening.