MVP Check-in: Nikola Jokic looking to stay in top position for Michael Jordan Trophy

Phoenix Suns v Denver Nuggets - Game Three
Phoenix Suns v Denver Nuggets - Game Three / Dustin Bradford/GettyImages

Another week has gone by, and that means another update to the Kia NBA MVP Ladder. Michael C. Wright of releases the ladder each week, and the latest installment came out on Friday night.

Jokic the favorite for MVP

For the eighth week in a row, Nikola Jokic of the Nuggets sits atop the ranking. The Joker took over the top spot from Joel Embiid after the 76ers big man was injured, and he hasn’t looked back since.

In fact, the top two have remained intact for that stretch, as Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of the Thunder has been behind Jokic in second for eight weeks in a row. The rankings began in week three of the season, and we’re now in week 23. Jokic has topped the rankings for 12 weeks and Embiid led for eight. No other player has been atop the ladder this season.

With just 11 games remaining in the Nuggets’ regular season, it is appearing more and more like the award is Jokic’s to lose. SGA has been consistent all year, but it’s apparent that Jokic is simply a level above the dynamic young guard. It would take an insane late push to overtake the Joker.

Jokic making history

Averaging 26.1 points, 12.3 rebounds, and 9 assists per game on the season, Jokic is on pace to win his third MVP Award in four years. His only loss came last season when the Serbian star came in second place to the winner, Embiid.

It’s safe to say that Jokic won the more important award last season however, as he went on to lead the Nuggets to their first championship, winning Finals MVP along the way. With a win, Big Honey would become just the ninth player in NBA history to win the illustrious award three times.

The top 5

For the second straight week, there was a change in the top five, as Luka Doncic of the Mavericks climbed into a tie for third place with Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Bucks. Last week, Doncic moved from fifth place to fourth, and now he moves up again as the Mavs have won seven of their last eight games. 

For the second consecutive week, Jayston Tatum of the Celtics came in fifth in the ladder. The Celtics are leading the NBA with 57 wins on the season.