Nuggets' Nikola Jokic wins NBA MVP award for two consecutive years
May 12, 2022
Nikola Jokic, the center for the Denver Nuggets, won his second NBA Most Valuable Player award in a row for the 2021-22 season. According to the league’s announcement on Wednesday, he beat Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid and Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The 27-year-old Serbian received a total of 875 points from 65 out of a possible 100 first-place votes. Embiid placed second with 26 points and 706 votes, followed by Giannis Antetokounmpo with nine points and 595.
This makes him the 13th player in NBA history to win consecutive MVP awards. Steve Nash, Tim Duncan, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Wilt Chamberlain are among the greats that he joined. Only Bob Pettit and Karl Malone have won the tournament twice. The Hall of Fame inducts all players who have won multiple MVP awards.
Excluding assists, Jokic did better than his per-game averages in every major statistical category during the regular season. At the end of the season, he had the most points (27.1), rebounds (13.8), blocks (0.9), and steals (1.5) per game of his career. He also made 58.3 percent of his field goals, which was a career-high. He did not match his career highs for free throw percentage or 3-point percentage, but he did make a career-high number of free throws (379) and 3-pointers (97).
Rocky journey for finalists
Embiid, Antetokounmpo, and Jokic had a ferocious three-way duel. Embiid was the top scorer with a 30.6-point per game average. There were three teams in the Eastern Conference playoffs, and Antetokounmpo finished third with a 51-31 record.
Embiid finished fourth despite having the same record as he did in the regular season due to tiebreakers. The Golden State Warriors knocked out the No. 6 seeded Jokic despite the fact that they had only lost three games fewer than the team from Serbia.
They all had to overcome significant adversity in order to achieve their success. Embiid and Antetokounmpo had to play in different positions because of injuries to Brook Lopez and Ben Simmons, respectively, in the first half of the season. Lopez eventually made a comeback, however, with the 76ers exchanging Simmons for James Harden in the process.
Jokic, on the other hand, received no such respite. Jamal Murray did not play a minute of basketball this season, and Michael Porter Jr. only appeared in nine games. However, despite their inferior record, the Nuggets' ability to survive without their second and third best players likely won this award for Jokic over the other two.
Spencer Haywood, a former Nugget who won the ABA's MVP award while playing for the Denver Rockets, is the only other member of the franchise to have won an NBA MVP award alongside Jokic.
Denver never had a chance to win a championship this season since Murray and Porter were injured, but Jokic carried the Nuggets into the playoffs in a way that no other player could. The voters have spoken, and he was named the NBA's MVP for the 2021-22 season, despite the fact that he did not fit the mold of a traditional MVP in terms of style or standings.