Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic wins NBA MVP award for second season in a row

Nikola Jokic has won the 2021-22 NBA MVP award, taking the league’s highest individual honor for the second consecutive year. the competition announced Wednesday evening† Jokic got 65 out of a possible 100 votes for first place, receiving a total of 875 points, surpassing Joel Embiid’s total of 706 points and Giannis Antetokounmpo’s 595 points. Jokic’s back-to-back MVP awards match fellow finalist Giannis Antetokounmpo’s performance during the 2018-19 and ’19-20 seasons. The third finalist, Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid, never won the award.

Aside from assists, Jokic managed to improve his average per game in every major statistical category in the regular season. He finished with career highs in points (27.1), rebounds (13.8), blocks (0.9), and steals (1.5) per game. He also made a career-high 58.3 percent of his field goals, and while he didn’t match his career high in free throw or 3-point percentage, he did set highs in total free throws (379) and 3-pointers. (97) created.

The race between Jokic, Embiid and Antetokounmpo was a fierce one. Embiid won the scoring title with an average of 30.6 points. Antetokounmpo’s Milwaukee Bucks finished with the highest run of three and finished third in the Eastern Conference with a 51-31 record. Embiid’s 76ers held the same record, but finished fourth due to tiebreakers. Jokic’s Nuggets were a No. 6 seed in the West despite winning just three games less and were ousted in the first round by the Golden State Warriors.

All three MVP finalists had to overcome meaningful setbacks to get their teams where they were. Embiid played the first half of the season without Ben Simmons, who was out due to a trade request, and Antetokounmpo had to play out of center position due to an injury to Brook Lopez. But Lopez eventually returned and the 76ers traded Simmons for James Harden. Jokic got no such relief. Star teammate Jamal Murray did not play a single game this season and number three Michael Porter Jr. played only nine games. Jokic’s team may have had a worse reputation than the other two, but his ability to keep the Nuggets afloat without their second and third best players probably earned him this trophy.

Jokic is the 15th player to win multiple MVP awards along with Bob Pettit, Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Moses Malone, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Karl Malone, Tim Duncan, Steve Nash, LeBron James, Stephen Curry and Antetokounmpo. He is the only Nugget to win an NBA MVP award, although Spencer Haywood won an ABA MVP award when the team was known as the Denver Rockets.

With Murray and Porter injured, Denver never had a realistic shot at a championship this season, but Jokic managed to take them to the playoffs in a way no other player probably would. He is not a traditional MVP in style or standings, but voters have spoken and they have determined that he was the most valuable player of the 2021-22 NBA season.

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