Denver Nuggets: Nikola Jokic cements his legacy in Colorado sports

Center Nikola Jokic warms up before a game on 28 Apr. 2021. (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)
Center Nikola Jokic warms up before a game on 28 Apr. 2021. (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports) /

Throughout the years, Denver Nuggets fans have waited, hoped, and prayed that a player like Nikola Jokic would be sent from the heavens to save the Nuggets faithful from basketball poverty.

This player would not only lift their spirits but expectations also, as the Nuggets set their sights on a Larry O’Brien trophy led by the back-to-back NBA MVP.

That feels good to say.

Mile High Basketball fans may, however, have to come to grips with the fact that Jokic has just done what will never be done in Denver again.

Joker has raised all boats while the Nuggets wade through rough waters in the West without co-stars Michael Porter Jr. and Jamal Murray. Nikola Jokic has been nothing short of fantastic in their stead, pushing his player efficiency rating to a league-leading 32.8 this season while averaging 27.1 points, 13.8 rebounds, and 7.9 assists per game, all top-ten ranks respectively.

Repeating as MVP of the entire league as the centerpiece in the Mile High City from the center position seemed unfathomable until Jokic started to heat up a few years ago, but looking forward, it’s hard to project another Denver athlete stringing together two MVP seasons in a row ever again.

The bar is now set even higher after what Jokic was able to accomplish, beating out stud performances by Milwaukee Bucks‘ freak Giannis Antetokounmpo and Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid.

The advanced stats and lack of surrounding talent likely pushed Big Honey over the top when considering who should be holding up the 2022 MVP trophy. A back-to-back MVP performance like that would likely now require a sustained run of Nuggets success, including a number one seed and championship expectations nationally at season’s end.

An NBA championship is next on the docket when looking at Jokic’s to-do list, and championships are now the standard when looking at how Denver can push further. Advanced stats will no longer cut it for Jokic or any other Denver athlete. As hard as individual dominance is to predict, Jokic has established himself as a prime cut among the high-end meats the league has to offer.

If you are a Nuggets fan, enjoy it. Jokic has a chance to establish himself on the Mt. Rushmore of Denver athletes.

Players rarely ever three-peat with the MVP trophy even if they deserve it with recent MVP-level performances by Giannis and Steph Curry being overlooked by a fresh face.

Additionally, Jokic hopefully won’t be carrying the load of three stars as MPJ and Murray should be back to full strength next season. Jokic’s rebounds and efficiency should stay high, but a drop in points per game should be expected.

But before looking too far in the future, let’s all enjoy the fact that Nikola Jokic has cemented a legacy with his second MVP in a row, which is hard to do in Colorado.

Denver sports Mt. Rushmore is defined by titles, and outside of Colorado Avalanche star Nathan MacKinnon and Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson, Jokic is carrying the torch right now, and has the best shot right now at besting his own performance that he just laid down.

Nuggets fans are excited to see what Jokic does next but we may never see something like this again.

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