Where does Nikola Jokic rank in the latest NBA MVP ladder?

Miami Heat v Denver Nuggets
Miami Heat v Denver Nuggets / Jamie Schwaberow/GettyImages

As the NBA regular season creeps toward its conclusion, the awards picture becomes clearer and clearer. Over two-thirds of the season has been played and according to Michael Wright of NBA.com, Nikola Jokic remains the leader in the clubhouse to take home his third Most Valuable Player award.

The Nuggets center, of course, won the award previously for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons and came in second place last season to Joel Embiid. If Jokic holds on and wins the award this season he will put himself in elite company with only eight other players who have won the award three times or more.

Elite company

He would be tied with Moses Malone, Larry Bird, and Magic Johnson who each won the award three times. Wilt Chamberlain and LeBron James each have four MVP awards to their name. Michael Jordan and Bill Russell have won it five times each, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar stands alone with six MVP trophies.

The Joker is currently averaging 25.8 points, 12.3 rebounds, and 9.3 assists per game for the season while leading his team to a 41-19 record - just a game and a half shy of first place in a crowded Western Conference.

The other contenders

The award is still far from in the bag, as Jokic faces stiff competition from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jayson Tatum, and Luka Doncic, who round out the current top five in that order.

Last year’s winner, Embiid had been leading the way for most of the season until a knee injury sidelined him and took him out of the running. It has been close between Joker and SGA since then, but it seems like Big Honey has pulled ahead with his hyper-efficient play and gaudy numbers of late.

Loftier goals

Ultimately, Jokic and the Nuggets don’t care that much about this or any individual awards. The team has their eyes on a much bigger prize, a second consecutive NBA title. But still, Jokic deserves the award and the recognition. 

And while it may seem like an afterthought right now, these things can have great meaning for his legacy down the road. With a third MVP trophy (and counting) he’d be in rarified air, and would further solidify his standing among the all-time greats.