Once again exceptional this season, Nikola Jokic is releasing a new mammoth campaign with statistics as crazy as last year, where he finished… MVP. But while he is less talked about than other stars in the conversation for the trophy, his coach Michael Malone was keen to point out the i’s about Niko’s place in the MVP race.
Almost a year ago, Nikola Jokic was breaking the Jazz of Rudy Gobert with 47 points, 12 rebounds and 5 assists against the French. Without doubt the best match of his 2020-2021 season, which will see him rewarded with a well-deserved MVP trophy. This year again, the Serbian giant is releasing figures from guedin: 25.7 points, 14.1 rebounds and 7 assists, in 56/35/77 for shooting percentages. A line of stats that would make any pivot blush and yet his name tends to stay a bit behind in the race for the MVP this season: if Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo emerge regularly, this is less the case for Nikola Jokic. A heresy according to his coach Michael Malone (via ESPN) :
“I think he’s one of the least respected reigning MVPs I know, in terms of attention. But if you open the dictionary and search for the word “regularity”, you will find a photo of Nikola there. It dates back to the bubble, the 72-game season last year, and this year we knew Jamal Murray was going to be out for a long time. When you add a Michael Porter, when you add a PJ Dozier to that casualty list, what he does becomes even more incredible. “
A real plea on the part of coach Malone to defend his steak, which according to him deserves much more recognition. How to prove him wrong when we see what his pivot produces on the floor? In addition to its stats, the Joker leads a decimated team by managing to keep them in the top 6 of the Western Conference with a positive record (20 wins – 19 losses). But for the Nuggets coach, it’s mostly a question of style.
“He’s not going to come over to SportsCenter dunking on someone. He’s not going to return a shot to third place. But if you enjoy passing, IQ, playing the game, what he does every night as a scorer, rebounder, playmaker, and finally I’m starting to hear he gets a little more credit as a defender, and it is well deserved.
I mean, Nikola Jokic is not sexy. It just isn’t. There’s nothing about Nikola… his wife might not agree. But if you are a true student of the game, a coach, someone who likes the game to be played the right way, then you are enjoying it at the level at which it should be enjoyed. “
The value of Nikola Jokic to the Nuggets is obviously unquestionable. But to really be in the race for the most prestigious of individual trophies, the Joker is going to have to move Denver up the rankings as a sixth conference MVP, it’s almost mission impossible, unless Russell Westbrook takes on the role of Tom Cruise.
Nikola Jokic is still off the charts this season but he seems to be, for now, in the second car for the MVP race. A situation that does not please Michael Malone, who made it clear by swinging a convincing plea as well as by talking about the subject that interests us all, the sex-appeal de Jokic.
Text source: ESPN