The NBA announced three finalists for the MVP Award, as it’ll come down to Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid and Stephen Curry.
All three guys have established themselves as deserving candidates to take home the prestigious award.
Embiid averaged a career-high 28.5 points per game on a career-high 51.3 percent shooting from the floor to go along with 10..6 rebounds, as the Philadelphia 76ers ultimately earned the first seed in the Eastern Conference.
Curry, a two-time MVP, put up a career-high 32.0 points per game, as he carried the Golden State Warriors to the eighth spot in the Western Conference. Without Curry, the Warriors might’ve been the worst team in the league.
However, Jokic put up easily the most impressive all-around numbers on the board of the three, averaging 26.4 points on 56.6 percent shooting, 10.8 rebounds and 8.3 assists per game. Jokic is also the only player to suit up in all 72 games this season, as Embiid missed 21 games and Curry missed nine.
He also led the Denver Nuggets to the third seed in the Western Conference, and that is no easy task when you consider that they lost Jamal Murray to a season-ending ACL tear on April 12th.
Following that point, the Nuggets were still able to rattle off nine wins in their next 10 games, as Jokic continued to put up dominant numbers throughout that stretch.
Jokic led the NBA in touches per game at 101.0, but out of all the top 10 guys in the NBA in touches per game, he and Domantas Sabonis are the only two guys that average less than three seconds per touch, which indicates an overwhelming willingness to pass the ball. When you look at passes per game, Jokic and Sabonis are also only the two guys in the league with over 70 passes made a night on average.
The fact that Jokic is still putting up high scoring numbers while being the textbook definition of a pass first player goes to show just how talented and smart of a basketball player he is, as he knows when to pick and choose throughout the course of a game when to shoot and if he doesn’t see a good scoring opportunity, he’ll got others involved instead of going shot hunting.
He does most of his damage within 10 feet of the rim, as he shoots nearly 64 percent on those looks. Nearly 60 percent of his shot attempts come within 10 feet, so he’ll use his post up and driving abilities to make opposing defenses pay. What makes Jokic that much more unguardable is his unpredictability, as he is a 7-foot big man that can move like a 6-foot-2 guard and pass like one as well.
All three candidates are deserving in their own right, but given what Jokic has done all season long, he has earned it. Especially when you consider that he’ll be the first second round pick to win an MVP in NBA history.