Nikola Jokic didn’t lose the NBA MVP in January, he only got better
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.
Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokić and Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid have been named the Kia NBA Western and Eastern Conference Players of the Month, respectively, for games played in January. pic.twitter.com/IcSeFvxVmM
— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) February 2, 2023
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.)