Nikola Jokic didn’t lose the NBA MVP in January, he only got better

Feb 2, 2023, 2:21 PM
Nikola Jokic...
Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The reports of Nikola Jokic’s MVP campaign dying were greatly exaggerated.

The back-to-back NBA MVP still ranks as the favorite in many books and now the league just named him the Western Conference Player of the Month for January. Jokic averaged 24.0 points, 11.6 rebounds, 11.3 assists and 1.20 steals while shooting 67.7% from the field and 53.8% from three-point range in 12 games during the month, while leading the best-in-the-west Nuggets to a 10-2 record.

It’s the fifth time in Jokic’s career he has been named the best player for a month in his NBA career, and the first time this season that the Denver big man has been the west’s best player for a whole month.

Jokić, 27, recorded eight triple-doubles in January including posting one in five of his last six games, adding to his league-leading 16 for the season (the Nuggets are 16-0 in those games.) He joins Wilt Chamberlain as the only centers in NBA history to record eight or more triple-doubles in a single month. Jokic also became the first player to have shooting splits of 65% from the field, 50% from three and 85% from the free throw line in a single month.

Meanwhile the Eastern Conference Player of the Month for January was Joel Embiid, who had a monster game against the Nuggets which many people wanted to crown his MVP moment. He scored 34.9 points, grabbed 10.7 rebounds, added 3.2 assists and got over a block and steal per game over the month. Despite the 76ers big win over the Nuggets and Embiid’s stellar month, he still trails behind Jokic for the MVP favorite on nearly every book. Embiid finished second in each of the last two MVP award races.

Unlike Embiid, Joker was recently voted to his fifth-straight All-Star Game and third consecutive year being named an All-Star starter.

The Serbian is averaging 25.1 points, 11.1 rebounds and a career-high 10.0 assists, while shooting 63.1% from the field and 38.8% from three in 33.6 minutes per game. If those averages hold, he will become the third player in NBA history to average a triple double for a single season (Oscar Robertson, Russell Westbrook.)



Nikola Jokic Michael Malone...
Will Petersen

As the Nuggets regain their form, the Avalanche’s injuries catch up to them

Wednesday night is what makes sports fun; just when narratives about the Nuggets and Avs were developing, each team flipped the script
1 day ago
Jamal Murray...
Jake Shapiro

Mile High Hoops: March 21, 2023

Reacting to the Nuggets finally looking like themselves again in Brooklyn and how the changing landscape of offense in the NBA is impacting the NBA MVP race.
2 days ago
Zeke Nnaji...
Jake Shapiro

Zeke Nnaji finally returns to Nuggets lineup, reveals injury

It was only 11 minutes of action in a late regular-season win but something sneaky big happened in the Nuggets win on Sunda
3 days ago
Michael Porter Jr....

Nuggets get a much-needed win, but haven’t found their groove just yet

Denver has a 4.0-game lead in the West with just 10 games to play, but they're still sputtering to find their rhythm on both ends of the court
4 days ago
Nikola Jokic...
Jake Shapiro

Nuggets clinch division and snap losing streak in comeback road win

The Denver Nuggets snapped a season-worst four-game losing streak and clinched their division crown in a 119-100 victory on Thursday
7 days ago
Nikola Jokic Joel Embiid...
Will Petersen

Out of nowhere, Nuggets star Nikola Jokic no longer the NBA MVP favorite

While Denver stills holds a comfortable lead for the No. 1 seed in the West, the oddsmakers appear to be holding the team's slump against Jokic
7 days ago
Nikola Jokic didn’t lose the NBA MVP in January, he only got better