Denver Nuggets: Nikola Jokic has locked up the MVP award

Denver Nuggets, Nikola Jokic (Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)
Denver Nuggets, Nikola Jokic (Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports) /

Nikola Jokic had an incredibly impressive night against the Memphis Grizzlies, pushing the Denver Nuggets to victory and finishing with 47 points, 12 rebounds, and 8 assists. The Joker is solidifying his chances at the MVP this year and doing so in a resounding fashion.

With the injury to Jamal Murray, the Nuggets have leaned on him even more than usual and he has not disappointed. Jokic would not let the playoff dreams die, doing whatever is tasked of him even if that means scoring near fifty and getting all of the buckets in the clutch.

Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic locked up the MVP award with a commanding 47-point performance

In the NBA, the MVP always seems to have an impressive single-game performance to solidify their dominance during that season. You can look back to Russell Westbrook’s MVP year in 2017 when he slammed the door shut on the Nuggets, getting his 42nd triple-double on the season and 50 points in the last game of the season including the game-winner.

Another example is James Harden’s iconic step back that sent Wesley Johnson to the floor in 2018.

The Nuggets game versus the Grizzlies was the Joker’s MVP defining moment and while it was not on national television, this game sent shockwaves through the NBA world. The Joker got buckets in every facet down the stretch, destroying them in the paint and even stretching the floor for big shots. According to @StatMuse on Twitter, Nikola Jokic is the first center with a 45/15/8 game since Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon.

Jokic’s ability to bully bigs down low is second to Joel Embiid, who leads the league in post points per game. Jokic trails him with 5.4 post points per game, leading Anthony Davis at third with 5.3.

While Embiid has him beat in the paint, Jokic’s ability to affect the game on every level truly separates his play especially this year. The Joker is the only player in the league who is top ten in points, rebounds, and assists. He averages 26.4 points, on 57 percent shooting from the floor and 41.9 percent from three.

He is also averaging 11 rebounds and 8.8 assists per game, good for the fourth-best in the association. His head fakes and ability to use his pivot foot to his advantage allow him to get whatever positioning he wants. Watching him manipulate his opponent and the defense on every play is a joy to watch. Jokic reads the game at such a high level most of the time down the floor he gets to choose what shot is taken.

With the injury to Murray, he has been forced to look for his shot even more and it is only bolstering his MVP resume this season. He is now being relied on as the team’s primary initiator of the offense and it seems like he is raising the play of everyone around him. He makes sharpshooters Michael Porter Jr. and Will Barton’s job much easier with his ability to rifle passes into their shooting pockets from anywhere on the floor.

Nikola Jokic also boasts the best box plus-minus at 11.9, a full 3.3 points higher than Stephen Curry at number two.

According to the RAPTOR metric created by FiveThirtyEight, Jokic is taking the league over in this statistic at 10.1, leading the second-place Paul George by two full points. The RAPTOR WAR metric is where Nikola is leaps and bounds over the league, leading at 13.3, where Embiid has 7.4.

These are jaw-dropping stats, especially when you take into account that he plays every single night. Another massive aspect of the MVP is the longevity, consistency, and ability to show up every night. It is very clear to the league at the moment that Nikola is the clear favorite for the MVP this season.

Next. 15 best draft picks in Nuggets history. dark