MVP Check-in: How is Nikola Jokic looking with one week left in season

Apr 6, 2024; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) yells at a referee
Apr 6, 2024; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) yells at a referee / Michael Ciaglo-USA TODAY Sports

It’s crazy to think there are just a handful of days and games left in the NBA regular season which wraps up on Sunday. This is obviously the final push for teams looking to vault up the standings, make a final playoff, or play-in push, or heck, even to tank a little bit harder and garner slightly better lottery odds.

But this is also the final push for players to bolster their case for individual awards and other regular-season honors. Some of that includes playing in at least 65 games - a new rule this season - but it’s mostly based on performance at this point.

We may see players going above and beyond to accumulate stats in these last few games, as there’s quite a bit at stake. There’s been a bit of that recently in the race for the most prestigious award, MVP.

Three of the top four candidates had exceptional weeks last week, but it wasn’t enough to change anything in the KIA NBA MVP Ladder on Michael C. Wright of writes the column every week and published his latest edition last Friday.

Nikola Jokic the favorite for MVP

Despite all the hot play around the league by some of the top candidates, the entire top five stayed the same as last week. That means Nikola Jokic held onto first place, Luka Doncic remains in second, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander stayed in third place, Giannis Antetokounmpo is in fourth place, and Jayson Tatum rounds out the top five for another week.

This race feels all but over at this juncture as it doesn’t seem that anyone can do enough to catch the reigning Finals MVP. The Joker has separated himself from the pack and is primed to win his third MVP award in four years; a truly remarkable run.

Doncic is making a great push late and has the Mavericks shooting up the standings, but it’s too little too late at this point. SGA has been sitting out recently, having missed four straight games. Giannis has been playing great, but his team is floundering, currently on a four-game losing streak. Tatum has been steady, leading the league’s top team, but he has lots of help and individually he’s not on Jokic’s level.