Nikola Jokic is the frontrunner to three-peat in NBA’s latest MVP ladder
Jan 13, 2023, 2:52 PM
Nikola Jokic isn’t playing on Friday night but the work he’s already done this week has kept him pacing this year’s MVP race.
While there has been a lot of ladder talk with the Nuggets this year, the best ladder conversation is where does their star center rank on NBA.com’s MVP ladder? He’s on top of it as of Friday. They wrote:
Part of what makes it fun to watch Jokic is you won’t see any stat padding from the 27-year-old. He just does whatever is required to win on any given night, like Monday, when he became the first player in NBA history with a 15-plus assist triple-double with no missed field goals. Two nights later, Jokic finished with 21 points, 18 rebounds and nine assists in a win over Phoenix and didn’t even play in the fourth quarter as Denver walked away with its 11th victory in the last 13 outings, dropping 120-plus points for the eighth consecutive contest at home. The Nuggets are tied with Memphis for the conference lead and the NBA’s best home record (18-3).
While author Michael C. Wright is mostly right, Jokic was totally stat-padding this week. No, it wasn’t points like some NBA stars, in the Monday game Jokic seemed to be chasing his 18 assist sing-game career-high mark and then rebounds two nights later. I personally don’t think anyone cares or that it matters.
Jokic’s 24.9 points, 11.0 rebounds, 9.7 assists and 1.4 steals per game all lead the Nuggets. He is 16th-best in the NBA in points per night, fifth in rebounds, third in assists and 14th in steals.
The Nuggets wrapped up their first half earlier this week and Jokic only missed three games. The Friday rest night will be his fourth game not playing this year and first for rest. His availability is one of his best skills over his two-year terror over the NBA.
While Jokic’s points per game have gone down his assists have gone up. He has more help this year with the returns of Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. and the better play of Aaron Gordon. This has led the Nuggets to the best record in the west all the while Jokic still leads the NBA in most of the catch-all fancy stats at this point in the year. Here are the highlights the NBA posted of his first half.
Nikola Jokic's TOP PLAYS at the midway point of the season!
— NBA (@NBA) January 13, 2023
If Jokic can play the second half of the season like he did the first, he could be well on his way to the first MVP three-peat since Larry Bird accomplished the honor in 1986.