Jokic named NBA MVP for third time

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Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo

Nikola Jokic, the center for the Denver Nuggets, secured his third NBA Most Valuable Player award in four seasons, as announced by the league on Wednesday. Jokic clinched the honor over competitors Shai Gilgeous-Alexander from the Oklahoma City Thunder and Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks, garnering 79 first-place votes from a panel of broadcasters and journalists.


This victory places the Serbian powerhouse among an elite group as the ninth player to claim the MVP title three or more times, having previously won in 2021 and 2022. His stellar regular season performance, averaging 26.4 points, 12.4 rebounds, and 9.0 assists across 79 games, solidified his place as a dominant force in the league.


Jokic's exceptional season also saw him achieve a milestone shared by only one other player in NBA history—Oscar Robertson in 1961-62—as he tallied over 2,000 points, 900 rebounds, and 700 assists. Additionally, Jokic's win continues a trend of international players dominating the NBA scene, marking the sixth consecutive year that a non-American player has claimed the league's MVP title. 


This streak began with Cameroonian center Joel Embiid's victory last year and was preceded by Greek forward Giannis Antetokounmpo's back-to-back wins in 2020 and 2019.


In Denver's inaugural game, celebrated as Ring Night at home, Jokić delivered an outstanding performance, notching his first triple-double of the season with 29 points, 13 rebounds, and 11 assists, shortly after receiving his 2023 NBA championship ring. His contribution was pivotal in the Nuggets' exhilarating 119-107 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Opening Night.


From November 6th to November 14th, Jokić embarked on a remarkable streak, scoring at least 30 points in four consecutive games. Remarkably, in two of those games, he achieved a triple-double. His standout moment during this period came on November 11th when he became only the 26th player in NBA history to record at least 35 points, 20 rebounds, and 10 assists in a single game, finishing with 36 points, 21 rebounds, and 11 assists against the Houston Rockets.


The excitement reached new heights at the onset of the new year when Jokić displayed unparalleled efficiency, missing only two shots in three games from December 28th to January 1st. This extraordinary performance arguably marked one of the most efficient three-game stretches in modern NBA history, boasting the highest field goal percentage (92.9 percent) with at least 25 total shots attempted in a three-game span since the NBA-ABA merger.


However, the pinnacle of Jokić's 2023-24 season undoubtedly occurred on January 4th against the Golden State Warriors, etching a memorable chapter in Nuggets history. In a breathtaking display, Denver orchestrated an incredible 18-point fourth-quarter comeback to level the game, setting the stage for Jokić's heroics.


Nikola Jokić emerged as a dominant force following the All-Star break, showcasing his prowess with four consecutive triple-doubles after securing his sixth career All-Star selection. In a historic display, he became the first player ever to amass 32 points, 16 rebounds, 16 assists, and 4 steals in a single game, achieved on February 25th against the Golden State Warriors. This remarkable feat propelled the Nuggets to victory in 15 out of 17 games post-break.


Amid this impressive run, Jokić guided the Nuggets to their second triumph of the season against the Celtics on March 7th, delivering another triple-double performance with 32 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists, and 2 steals. Just two games later, he etched his name in the annals of NBA history once more by becoming the first player to record 35 points, 17 rebounds, 12 assists, and 6 steals in a game, accomplished on March 11th against the Toronto Raptors.


On March 31st, in a showdown with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Jokić dazzled with 26 points, 18 rebounds, and 16 assists, joining an elite group as just the tenth player in NBA history to achieve at least 25 points, 18 rebounds, and 15 assists in a single game. Following this stellar performance, he equaled his season-high of 42 points while also grabbing 16 rebounds against the Sacramento Kings in his next outing.


Ending the season on a high note, Jokić delivered a monumental performance against the Minnesota Timberwolves on April 10th, tallying 41 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists, and 3 steals. This commanding display proved crucial as it propelled the Nuggets to secure second place over the third-place Timberwolves in the final standings, cementing its significance as one of Denver's pivotal games of the year.

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