With the 2021-22 NBA regular season in the books, center Nikola Jokic, put on a strong campaign to repeat as the league’s Most Valuable Player leading the Denver Nuggets to a fourth straight postseason birth.
All season long with it has been a battle of who could win MVP with the narrative changing month to month as names came and went from Steph Curry, DeMar DeRozan, Jayson Tatum, Devin Booker, and Luka Doncic to name a few at the beginning of the season to the final three players who are the leaders of the pack to likely be named the NBA’s MVP.
Contending against Jokic this year for the hardware are Philadelphia 76ers centre Joel Embiid and Milwaukee Bucks big man Giannis Antetokounmpo. Jokic is hoping to accomplish what Antetokounmpo did going back-to-back with the league’s highest honor.
The competition between the three is a unique race of who did more to stand out this season.
Giannis has been leading the Bucks on a strong path to maintain eastern conference supremacy while looking to repeat as champion. Embiid stayed relatively healthy and made NBA history this season becoming the fourth center in NBA history to win the scoring title and the first big man to win that title since Shaquille O’Neal in the 1999-2000 season (he also won MVP that same year.)
It is a complex conundrum of who did what, who’s team performed best, and who was the most consistent from October to April.
From various power rankings, NBA straw polls, and oddsmakers it seems until the awards are announced, Jokic is the clear favorite to repeat as Antetokounmpo did in 2019 and 2020.
This season, Nikola Jokic has elevated his game and his performance, play, and leadership has garnered respect, attention, and a vote of confidence from players past and present giving their stamp of approval on the Joker’s ballot for a second consecutive MVP.
76ers legend Julius Erving gave his stamp of approval for Jokic even though would like Embiid to win it.
"“I’m hopeful that Embiid wins it – he does talk about it and it’s something that is one of those carrots out there that he’s reaching for – but I think the most deserving guy is Jokic. “He hasn’t missed any games. Night in and night out, he’s one better than he did last year. He was MVP last year. When you get better, I don’t think you lose status. Not if it’s a fair fight. “I’m going to pull for Embiid because he’s my guy. And Antetokounmpo, who knows how he’s going to finish up? But both Embiid and Antetokounmpo have missed several weeks of play. Jokic has been out there every night.”"
Rudy Gobert, the Utah Jazz center and division rival, said that he would vote for Nikola Jokic in this year’s MVP race.
With the NBA playoffs set to begin and usher the conversation of crowning a World Champion, let’s look back at what Nikola Jokic has done this season to retain and repeat as NBA MVP.