MVP check-in: Where does Nikola Jokic rank in latest MVP ladder?

Denver Nuggets v Dallas Mavericks
Denver Nuggets v Dallas Mavericks / Ron Jenkins/GettyImages

The latest Kia NBA MVP ladder came out on Friday, and the Nuggets big man, Nikola Jokic leads the pack yet again. Michael C. Wright of releases the rankings each week and the Joker is in first place for the ninth consecutive week.

This ladder was released prior to Denver’s big home loss to the Wolves on Friday night, and news of a Jokic wrist injury emerged. But still, he dropped 32 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists in the loss.

Nikola Jokic in control

Nikola has been in control of this award for more than half the season, and the only other player in the NBA who has held the top spot in this ladder is ineligible to win the award (Joell Emiid) as he suffered an injury months ago.

For what it’s worth, Jokic has already played in 71 games this season, so even if the team were to shut him down with his various ailments, he has already met the 65-game threshold to win the MVP award.

That scenario is very unlikely and there has been no indication the Nuggets plan to do so. But the point is that the MVP award is Nikola’s to lose. He’s met all the criteria, has kept his lead over the field, and has been the best and most valuable player in the league consistently all season. These final eight games should have little to no bearing on that.

The rest of the top 5

If the Thunder were to win out and run away with the one seed in the West, I could see the argument for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. But the OKC guard has been dealing with his own injury, and missing games recently. He’s actually fallen out of second place in the MVP ladder for the first time in eight weeks.

The rest of the ladder has changed a lot over the past few weeks. Luka Doncic, of the surging Mavericks, has jumped into second place. Gilgeous-Alexander has dropped to third place, Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Bucks has fallen to fourth place, and Jayson Tatum of the Celtics stayed steady in fifth place.