The Denver Nuggets have a new star, Nikola Jokic. He is the reigning MVP and has been dominating games since he came into the league in 2014. However, his recent performance against the Oklahoma City Thunder was not received well by fans or media members. In fact, it was seen as disrespectful to Russell Westbrook.
Nikola Jokic just received some serious disrespect that should motivate the reigning MVP and the Denver Nuggets. Read more in detail here: why nikola jokic is the mvp.
There wasn’t much discussion about whether Nikola Jokic should have earned MVP in 2020-21. With 26.4 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 8.3 assists per game, the Denver Nuggets center came close to a triple-double. The Joker earned 91 out of 101 first-place votes after shooting 56.6 percent from the field and a career-high 86.8% from the free-throw line to become the first second-round selection to win MVP.
Even though Jokic was the clear winner of the NBA’s best player award last season, it doesn’t mean he gets unrestricted appreciation. One such example will serve as a source of inspiration for both the big man and the Nuggets as a whole.
Nikola Jokic was not among the top five players in ESPN’s player rankings.
Every year, ESPN compiles a list of the NBA’s best 100 players. ESPN invites voters to choose between two players until a full list is formed to determine their “NBArank.” It’s not a perfect methodology, but it does generate a lot of debate over where players should be ranked.
In this scenario, Jokic’s position will be called into doubt. This year’s NBArank ranked the 6-foot-11 unicorn sixth, up four places from his 2020 rating. When asked why Jokic didn’t make the top five, voter Kirk Goldsberry is an actor who has been in many films. gave a straightforward explanation: (Thanks to ESPN for the tip).
“In the second round, Jokic and the Nuggets were blasted off the floor by the [Phoenix] Suns. Why? When it counted most, they couldn’t get stops. The Nuggets had an awful defensive rating of 123.5 in the playoffs last year with Jokic on the court. That won’t cut it against the top teams in the West. Make no mistake: Jokic deserved to win MVP last season, but if he wants to move up these rankings, he has to work on being a more complete two-way player.”
Jokic has never been a great defender, but in the 2018-19 season, he had a career-high 4.3 defensive win shares. That is, however, more than three-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert (4.2) received in the 2019-20 season.
Is Jokic worthy of a place in the top five?
Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets receives the MVP trophy. | Dustin Bradford/Getty Images
It’s nothing to be embarrassed of to be ranked sixth among the top-100 basketball players in the world. Jokic is one place ahead of Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers and three spots ahead of Anthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers. Should the Joker, on the other hand, be ranked even higher?
ESPN has published the players ranked 100 through six as of this writing. Using common sense, the five players ahead of Jokic are LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, and Luka Doncic, in no particular order.
Most of those names are difficult to disagree with. James is perhaps one of the two or three greatest players of all time, and he is still active. Antetokounmpo is coming off a historic NBA Finals performance and continues to add to his already impressive résumé. In addition, future Hall of Famers Durant and Curry returned from injury in 2020-21 and were fantastic. In a memorable postseason, Curry led the league with 32.0 points per game, while Durant averaged 35.0.
That leaves Doncic, who is already one of the greatest players in the game at the age of 22. Is he, however, a greater player than Jokic? Luka averaged 27.7/8.0/8.6 last season, which was close to the MVP center’s points, rebounds, and assists. However, his shooting percentages were 47.9/35.0/73.0, a far cry from Jokic’s 56.6/38.8/86.8. In terms of defense, Doncic has a career best of 2.8 defensive win shares, which the Joker has surpassed in each of the past four seasons.
In a few respects, comparing point guard Doncic to center Jokic is like comparing apples to oranges. But it’s a reasonable comparison to draw since both players are top choices for their respective teams, as well as key playmakers and leading scorers. And it seems like the reigning MVP got the short end of the stick.
Nikola Jokic has the ability to lead the Denver Nuggets to a championship.
If the Phoenix Suns taught us anything last season, it’s that the Western Conference is wide open. And the Nuggets are unquestionably in the mix to win it again.
On the court, Jokic is not just consistent, but he is also consistent. In the past three regular seasons, the big man has only missed two games. Alongside him, Michael Porter Jr., 23, will want to improve on his breakthrough season of 19.0 points per game in 2020-21. Jamal Murray, the x-factor, is expected to return after a ruptured ACL in April.
Along with role players Aaron Gordon, Will Barton, and Jeff Green, the Nuggets have a squad capable of winning the Western Conference. They reached the Western Conference Finals in 2020, but were swept in the second round this year, falling to the eventual champion Lakers.
Expect a huge year from Jokic, who will be motivated to prove he’s a top-five player in the NBA in addition to attempting to win his first ring with the Denver Nuggets.
Basketball Reference provided all statistics.
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Nikola Jokic is a Serbian professional basketball player who plays for the Denver Nuggets. On Thursday, he received some serious disrespect that should motivate the reigning MVP and the Denver Nuggets. Reference: nikola jokic news.
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