Nikola Jokic Turned Off by ‘Ugly, Nasty’ NBA MVP Debate

Nikola Jokic

Denver Nuggets coach Michael Malone has called for the NBA community to celebrate the MVP candidates instead of tearing them down, as he believes the negativity surrounding the award has turned his star center off.

“This year has taken an ugly, nasty turn in the MVP conversation,” Malone said. “And I think it’s turned a lot of people off, including him. And what’s happening now is there’s so many guys that could win the MVP this year — great candidates. Joel Embiid is a great candidate. Luka Doncic is a great candidate. Jayson Tatum — whoever you want to put in that mix, those are all deserving.

“But what happens in today’s society is that everybody — it’s like when I was a college coach — all the negative recruiting, it’s not promoting my guy, it’s ripping down every other guy. And that’s just ridiculous.”

Jokic has been the front runner for the award most of the season but the tide turned last week when Sixers center Joel Embiid became the odds-on favorite.

The bookies were certainly onto something as Embiid has been playing out of skin, while the Nuggets have struggled to find form.

On the stats sheet however, Jokic is still putting up impressive numbers and has averaged 26.0 points, 13.1 rebounds and 9.0 assists in his last ten games.

While Embiid has averaged 33.9 points, 9.4 rebounds and 4.8 assists in his last ten games and became the first center since Shaq to record 30-plus points in ten consecutive games and to top it all off, leads the league in scoring.

If Jokic does win the MVP award for a third straight year, he will become just the fourth player in history to do so behind Wilt Chamberlain (1965-68), Bill Russell (1960-63) and Larry Bird (1983-86).

The pair will match-up in a highly-anticipated matchup on Monday night.