July 23, 2024

Nikola Jokic is poised to secure his third NBA MVP award, making him only the ninth player in league history to achieve this feat, as the regular season approaches its conclusion later this month.

Nikola Jokic named 2021 NBA Most Valuable Player | CNN

According to the latest data from ESPN’s final MVP straw poll released on Wednesday, Jokic is on track to win this year’s Most Valuable Player title with a significant lead. In fact, there’s a possibility that he could become just the second player in NBA history to win the award unanimously.

The straw poll, which is considered the most reliable gauge of the MVP race during the regular season, collects votes from 100 media members, including two from each market as well as international and national voices. Jokic and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander received votes from all 100 ballots, with Jokic securing the biggest lead in straw poll history with 85 first-place votes and a total of 953 points. Gilgeous-Alexander, initially seen as a competitor to Jokic in the MVP race, finished second with 10 of the remaining 15 first-place votes.

If Jokic clinches the MVP title this year, he will join an elite group of players, including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Russell, Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain, LeBron James, Moses Malone, Larry Bird, and Magic Johnson, who have each won the award three times. Notably, each of these players has also earned a Finals MVP and a championship title, except for Russell, whose career predates the Bill Russell Finals MVP award.

Undoubtedly, Jokic will cement his status as one of the top 15 players in NBA history by the end of this season, especially considering the Denver Nuggets’ current position as leaders in the Western Conference. Furthermore, a unanimous MVP win would further enhance Jokic’s legacy, a feat previously achieved only by Steph Curry in the 2015-16 season.

Last season, Jokic was considered a frontrunner for the MVP title but was ultimately overlooked, partly due to potential racial bias influencing the race. However, he led the Nuggets to a championship victory, earning the Finals MVP award. With six games remaining in the current season, Jokic continues to perform consistently, showcasing impressive statistics across various categories and leading the Nuggets to success after the All-Star Break.

As the MVP trophy ceremony approaches, likely to coincide with the Nuggets’ deep playoff run, Jokic’s reaction to receiving the award will be intriguing. Despite his seemingly indifferent demeanor, Jokic’s passion for basketball and desire for greatness are evident. Whether the trophy presentation occurs in front of home fans at Ball Arena or in his native Serbia, where he received his second MVP award, remains to be seen. Nevertheless, with the MVP title virtually secured, Jokic’s odds on sportsbooks have skyrocketed, indicating a 96% chance of him winning this year’s MVP accolade.

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