Denver Nuggets: Ranking Nikola Jokic among the top 5 MVP candidates

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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The Denver Nuggets have been slammed with the injury bug this season. MVP candidate Nikola Jokic has consistently been a reliable option not only scoring the ball but creating offense for his teammates and improving as a defensive center. The Nuggets are still a top-4 seed in the West, with the Joker almost averaging a triple-double this season and not missing a single game.

There have been some incredible stretches by some of the league’s best including Joel Embiid averaging over 30 points per game despite the injuries he has faced this season and Stephen Curry scoring 40+ points just to keep the talent depleted Golden State Warriors afloat.

Let’s look at the MVP race and how these elite players stack up against one another this season.

How Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic ranks in MVP race: #5. Chris Paul

Chris Paul has had an incredible season pulling up this rising Phoenix Suns team to almost the top seed in the West. The Suns are only two games back from the Utah Jazz and are two games ahead of the LA Clippers. After the impressive bubble showing last year, this Suns team has come out with an edge and is proving a lot of doubters wrong.

Paul’s scoring has decreased to 16 points per game, but is still averaging his usual 8.8 assists per game. It’s incredible to think that Nikola Jokic and the “Point God” have near the same number of assists per game, with Chris getting the nod with .1 assists per game more.

Paul also has a plethora of offensive help with the skilled Devin Booker and the dominant interior force of Deandre Ayton. He has raised each of their individual ceilings and has been a proven leader for this skilled young team.

Jokic’s MVP case is stronger than Paul’s, as he is nearly averaging a triple-double with 11 rebounds per game and the Nuggets are only 3.5 games back from the Suns. Jokic also has lost his All-Star teammate in Jamal Murray and has been tasked with running all of the team’s offense.

Since Murray has gone down with his strained right knee and the torn ACL in the left, the Nuggets are still streaking at 8-2. The Suns would not be in the same position if they had lost Devin Booker, even with the stellar play of Chris Paul this season.