NUGGETS

The Jokic MVP debate takes an ugly turn in latest Perkins commentary

Mar 1, 2023, 1:26 PM | Updated: 2:30 pm

Nikola Jokic...

Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

On Tuesday, J.J. Redick went after Kendrick Perkins on “First Take,” taking issue with his co-host’s notion that Nikola Jokic was padding his stats in an effort to win a third-consecutive MVP. Today, Perkins had his chance to respond; the result was fuel being poured on a fire.

First of all, it’s interesting to note that Perkins admitted to not taking certain shots in order to help his cause in pursuit of a team record when he was with the Celtics. So because he did it, the 14-year NBA veteran apparently thinks everyone else does, too.

Clearly, he doesn’t watch Nuggets games. Jokic is the opposite of a stat-padder. He’s fallen one rebound or assist short of a triple-double so many times that there’s actually a name for that type of stat line – the Sombor Double.

Jokic recorded his 100th career triple-double on Tuesday night, his 24th of the season. The Nuggets are a perfect 24-0 in those games. Clearly, the results suggest that he’s not reaching 10+ points, 10+ rebounds and 10+ assists by worrying about numbers first. It’s a laughable notion.

The second part of Kendrick’s rebuttal is not, however. He’s inferring that Jokic is on track to win a third-straight MVP award because he’s white.

This argument is nothing new. In fact, it dates back nearly four decades.

Dennis Rodman said the same thing in 1987 about Larry Bird, which was co-signed by Isiah Thomas. It caused such a stir that the Pistons guard and the Celtics forward had to have a joint press conference during the NBA Finals.

Perkins also mentioned Steve Nash who won back-to-back MVPs in 2005 and 2006; and Dirk Nowitzki in 2007.

The fact of the matter is that the MVP is a subjective award. Thus, it’s inherently going to be up for debate.

Strong cases could and can certainly be made for Bird, Nash, Nowitzki and Jokic. That’s why they won their awards.

And strong cases can be made for other players being worthy in those same seasons. There were plenty of good candidates those years.

Normally, those debates are fun. Today, it became ugly.

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