NUGGETS

Nikola Jokic again rises to the top of NBA’s MVP ladder

Feb 9, 2024, 12:22 PM

Just before next week’s NBA All-Star Break, NBA.com has put Nikola Jokic back atop their MVP ladder.

The Denver Nuggets’ big man, had a tough game on Thursday but still produced 24 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists in a win at the Lakers barn. The effort pushed his team back to the top spot in the West going into Friday’s back-to-back in Sacramento.

Jokic took over as the betting man’s MVP favorite late last month after Joel Embiid sat against the Nuggets. Embiid now can’t win the award due to his limited number of games played and he’s expected to miss the next month or so with a knee procedure. Jokic is as much as a -220 favorite for the award according to some books with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander behind him in odds and on the ladder.

NBA.com pointed out that, Jokic has 32 games with 25 points or more, five-plus rebounds and five-plus assists this season and he only 25 of those games last year. There’s no doubt that Jokic is still playing at the peak level which has already earned him two MVPs, a Finals MVP and a title. The 28-year-old could be battling Giannis Antetokounmpo for the award, who is also seeking his third MVP and is currently third on the ladder and in odds.

Jokic and Antetokounmpo recently squared off to some fireworks, if either of the two is named the league’s best player this season they’ll join Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Russell, Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain, LeBron James, Moses Malone, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson as the league’s three-time MVP winners.

Jokic entered Friday having played in all but two of the Nuggets games, averaging 26.3 points, 12.2 rebounds and 9 assists per game. Jokic will be starting his fourth-straight All-Star Game next weekend.

NBA.com also ranked Jayson Tatum on the ladder with Luka Doncic and Kawhi Leonard surging up a few spots this week.

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