Denver Nuggets big man Nikola Jokic has done it again, winning the second Western Conference Player of the Month award of his career for his performance in March, per the team’s website.
The win represents Jokic’s second Western Conference Player of the Month award in three months after having earned the honor for the month of January as well. The Joker joins Denver greats Carmelo Anthony and Alex English as the only other Nuggets to take the award home twice in their careers, though Jokic is the only one to do it twice in a season, according to the team’s Twitter.
The Sombor, Serbia native was in his bag all month long, putting up 27.1 points (ninth in the NBA), 11.4 rebounds (ninth), 8.4 dimes (t-sixth), 1.3 steals, and 1.3 triples per game on jaw-dropping efficiency with shooting percentages of 54 from the field, 44 from downtown, and 83 from the charity stripe. Jokic also managed at least a double-double in all but one of his 14 games in March, hitting the triple-double mark four times.
Those stats are no joke, but it’s the consistent wow factor of the Joker’s game along with the elite numbers which make him so special. I mean, this deep, full-court football pass to Jamal Murray against the Philadelphia 76ers looks like something you don’t see every day, but if you follow the Nuggets, you know that’s just another day at the office for Denver’s MVP candidate.
The Nuggets had a great month as a whole as well, no doubt thanks in large part to the big guy’s stellar play. Denver went 11-3 in March, including an impressive 6-1 mark on the road, to run their record up to 30-18 on the season, good for fifth in the Western Conference.
They now sit just a half-game back of the defending-champion Los Angeles Lakers, who are currently in freefall without their top two guys. They say that team success is as important as individual success when deciding on an MVP, and right now the Joker is checking both of those boxes with his high level of play and his team shooting up the standings.
Winning more player of the month hardware won’t be the only thing the 26-year-old remembers about this past month. On March 17th, Nikola Jokic put up what some might call a bland triple-double with 12 points, 10 boards, and 10 assists against Charlotte, but it was his 227th career double-double, which allowed him to surpass franchise legend Dikembe Mutombo’s team record, per the team website.
The Joker is the only Nugget to play in all 48 games this season, and he leads the team in minutes per game (35.6, eighth in NBA), points per game (26.5, seventh), rebounds per game (11.0, eighth), assists per game (8.4, t-sixth), steals per game (1.5, t-eighth), double-doubles (40, first), triple-doubles (12, second), and PER (35.06, first).
Considering the volume he shoots from outside the paint, the fact that Jokic—a seven-foot center, by the way—is hitting at just a shade under 57 percent from the field this season while still draining 1.5 triples a night on 43 percent shooting from deep is also absolutely absurd and should be a more common topic of discussion around the association.
If the Nuggets continue their charge up the Western Conference standings, numbers like that paired with the sixth-year pro’s penchant for highlight reel-type plays should put Nikola Jokic in the driver’s seat for another piece of big-time individual hardware come summertime.