NUGGETS

Nikola Jokic offers his opinion of ‘unhealthy’ NBA MVP race

Mar 8, 2023, 11:30 PM | Updated: 11:39 pm

Nikola Jokic is the favorite to win a third-straight MVP and become the first NBA player to three-peat since Hall of Famer Larry Bird did it in the mid-1980s.

Jokic is having the best season of his career personally and on his best team so far. For the first-place Nuggets he’s nearly averaging a triple-double per game on record-setting efficiency. But Wednesday’s Denver Nuggets blowout loss to the Chicago Bulls was a crack in the seven-footer’s near-impenetrable armor.

His streak of shooting over 50% in every game since October was ended—going down as the third longest in NBA history—Jokic’s Nuggets for the first time season lost while at full strength in Denver and the big man’s supporting cast was eyeing individual records while putting in a sub-par performance.

“It’s one game,” Jokic said. “I actually think we are playing good. We have weaknesses, everybody has weaknesses.”

The Nuggets are still 8-2 in their last 10 games and when pressed on those shortcomings Jokic slyly said he wouldn’t share what they are.

Denver has gotten better as has Jokic’s supporting cast as the season has progressed. But the Nuggets have one on the road Friday and another at home on Sunday ahead of a long east coast swing.

When the Nuggets return to Denver later in the month Jokic will host MVP candidates Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo. While the conversation around Jokic and the MVP has been at points ridiculous for years now, things have recently gotten very odd.

ESPN’s Kendrick Perkins has incorrectly accused Jokic of stat padding and later the MVP voters of racism. ESPN has walked back some of those claims.

To his part, Jokic said he heard what Perkins said on YouTube and offered, “I just find it interesting to say something just to give those guys something to talk about.”

“I really don’t know,” Jokic said when asked what he thinks sparked all of the hoopla and if he’s paying attention to the conversations. “I think that it’s not really healthy.”

Jokic is in the league’s top five for assists and rebounds, top 20 for points scored and top 30 for steals while having the chance to be the NBA’s first ever 60% from the field 40% from three 80% from the line shooter. Jokic’s odds dropped after the game against the Bulls according to sportsbooks, but sharps still have him as the runaway MVP. And despite the loss, the Nuggets are still seven games up on the Kings in second with only 16 games to play.

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