Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic set to join NBA legends with back-to-back MVP awards

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Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic is set to join the likes of Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo and a list of other greats with his second straight NBA MVP award.

Jokic will be awarded the NBA MVP for putting up historic numbers, according to multiple reports.  The official voting results have not been announced, but ESPN first reported Jokic would be named MVP.

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Nikola Jokic of the Nuggets during the Oklahoma City Thunder game on March 26, 2022, at the Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado.

Nikola Jokic of the Nuggets during the Oklahoma City Thunder game on March 26, 2022, at the Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado.
(Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Nuggets center was the first player in NBA history to eclipse 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 500 assists in a season. He averaged 27.1 points, 13.8 rebounds and 7.9 assists and guided the team to the playoffs despite missing two key teammates, Jamal Murry and Michael Porter Jr.

“It’s just remarkable what he’s done,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said recently of the 7-footer. “I know that I’m very biased, I admit it wholeheartedly – the MVP isn’t even a competition. 

“There’s other great players, I’m not saying they’re not great players, but what Nikola Jokic has done this year, with this team, with everything that we’ve had to go through, is incredible. He was good last year and he’s even better this year.”

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Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets dribbles the ball against the Pacers at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on March 30, 2022, in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets dribbles the ball against the Pacers at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on March 30, 2022, in Indianapolis, Indiana.
(Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

Jokic will follow Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks as back-to-back MVP award winners. The Bucks star did it in 2018-19 and 2019-20. Stephen Curry did it in 2014-15 and 2015-16. Other back-to-back winners include James, who did it twice, Jordan, Steve Nash, Tim Duncan, Magic Johnson, Moses Malone and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who also did it twice. 

Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell each won three straight times.

While Jokic led in traditional stat categories like total rebounds (1,019), he was also leading in advanced stats. He led in player efficiency rating (PER) with 32.8. Jokic led in Box Plus/Minus (13.7), Offensive Box Plus/Minus (9.2), Defensive Box Plus/Minus (4.5) and Value Over Replacement Player (9.8).

The analytical categories attempt to estimate just how much a player contributes to their team during each possession.

It’s those stats that likely gave Jokic the edge in those categories.

Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors hugs Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets after Game Five of the Western Conference first-round playoffs at Chase Center on April 27, 2022, in San Francisco, California.

Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors hugs Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets after Game Five of the Western Conference first-round playoffs at Chase Center on April 27, 2022, in San Francisco, California.
(Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

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Antetokounmpo and Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid were also in the running for MVP.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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