Denver Nuggets’ head coach Michael Malone knows all too well how important reigning MVP Nikola Jokic is to his team.
“I think he is one of the more disrespected reigning MVPs that I can think of in terms of the attention,” Malone said before the Nuggets’ 87-85 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday, via ESPN.
This season, Jokic is averaging 25.7 points, 14.1 rebounds, 7.0 assists, and 1.4 steals on 56% shooting from the field and 35% shooting from three.
That’s more points than Jayson Tatum (who’s playing 3.9 more minutes per game), more rebounds than anybody not named Rudy Gobert, more assists than LeBron James (who’s playing 4 more minutes per game), more steals than multiple All-NBA defenders, and the best true-shooting percentage of any player who’s top-25 in usage rate, per NBA.com.
“He [Jokic] is not going to be on SportsCenter dunking on somebody. He is not going to block a shot into the third row. But if you appreciate passing, IQ, reading the game, just what he does every night from a scoring, rebounding, playmaking standpoint, and finally I am starting to hear that he is getting a little more credit as a defender, and it is well deserved.”
It’s a bit absurd that Jokic isn’t considered a consensus top-three candidate for NBA MVP.
Brooklyn Nets’ star Kevin Durant and Milwaukee Bucks’ star Giannis Antetokounmpo are equally deserving of the award – but seem to be getting far more attention than Jokic.