1. Nikola Jokic
Stat to know: Jokic leads the NBA in nearly every advanced metric, including VORP and win shares.
The Joker is the unquestioned best player in the NBA. He just led the Nuggets to the championship in 2023 and is having another unbelievable season. Jokic is averaging 26.3 points, 12.1 rebounds, 9.0 assists, 1.2 steals, and 0.9 blocks per game. He is the only player in the top 20 in scoring, boards, and dimes each night.
The advanced metrics all favor Jokic. He leads the league in seven of the eight categories per Basketball Reference. He is a plus-2.7 defensive win shares, but that ranks fourth in the league. The Joker is number one in the other seven.
The Denver Nuggets are just 0.5 games back in the Western Conference and are charging. Nikola Jokic has them back in the title race, and the Nuggets will likely be viewed as favorites until someone knocks them off. Can Jokic win his third MVP and second championship in the same year? That is the goal for the Serbian superstar.
The MVP race is far from decided. There is still 40-plus percent of the regular season remaining. Nikola Jokic may have the early lead, but others will be charging down the stretch. Can the Joker make it three out of four? Stay tuned to find out.