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Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic Secures NBA MVP Honors For The Third Time In Four Seasons

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Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets continued solidifying his status as one of the NBA’s elite players, securing his third Most Valuable Player award on Wednesday, further cementing his legacy.

This marks Jokic’s third MVP win in just four seasons, succeeding last year’s MVP, Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers. Jokic triumphed over competition from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks, who claimed second and third place, respectively, in the voting.

Jokic’s third MVP accolade was a decisive victory, earning him 79 first-place votes and a total of 926 points. In comparison, Gilgeous-Alexander garnered 15 first-place votes and 640 points, while Doncic received four first-place votes and 566 points. Notably, Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks finished fourth, with Jalen Brunson of the New York Knicks securing fifth place in the voting.

Jokic’s achievement places him in rarefied air, becoming the first center in sixty years to clinch the MVP title three times in four seasons, following Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s feat from 1973-74 to 1976-77. Furthermore, he joins an esteemed group of players in NBA history to win at least three MVP awards, including Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan, Bill Russell, LeBron James, Wilt Chamberlain, Moses Malone, Larry Bird, and Magic Johnson.

In his ninth season, Jokic played 79 games, his highest since the 2018-19 season when he played 80 games. Notably, he joined Chamberlain as one of the only players in NBA history to rank in the top five for total points (fifth), rebounds (third), and assists (second) in multiple seasons, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Elgin Baylor achieved this feat once in his career.

Jokic’s exceptional season also saw him become the second player ever to achieve 2,000 points, 900 rebounds, and 600 assists in a single season, following in the footsteps of Oscar Robertson.

With impressive averages of 26.4 points, 12.4 rebounds, and 9.0 assists, all ranking in the top 10 across statistical categories, Jokic also recorded 25 triple-doubles, the second-highest in the league behind Domantas Sabonis of the Sacramento Kings. Additionally, he maintained solid shooting percentages of 58.3% from the field and 35.9% from beyond the arc.

Jokic’s impact on the Nuggets was profound, as evidenced by Denver’s performance metrics. The team ranked fifth in offensive efficiency, eighth in defensive efficiency, and fourth in net rating, a testament to his influence on both ends of the court.

Despite possessing a formidable starting lineup, the Nuggets heavily relied on Jokic, boasting a plus-11.8 net efficiency when he played compared to a minus-8.6 when he was off the court. His leadership was further highlighted by leading the NBA with a plus-682 plus-minus, emphasizing his invaluable contribution to the team’s success.

Despite his individual accolades, Jokic remains focused on team success, aspiring to lead the Nuggets to another championship title. A potential repeat would place him among an elite group of players, including Russell, Bird, Johnson, and James, who have achieved three regular-season MVPs and two NBA championships within a four-year span.

“Nikola has matured, his ability to continue to make everyone around him better,” Malone said. “And when you win a championship, and we’re going to run it back, but in place of Bruce [Brown] and Jeff [Green], we’re going to try to put young players in and the fact that we have a better record than we did last year.

“And we’ve had Jamal Murray miss [23] games. It speaks to Nikola understanding it’s still my responsibility as a great player to help [the younger role players] as well as all the other guys to understand what their roles are, how to play on both ends of the floor and, most importantly, make those guys better.”

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