Nikola Jokic is having another astounding season in the Association. He easily checks all of the boxes once again. Averaging 25 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists, being the undisputed leader on the #1 team in a clustered and competitive Western Conference there should be no doubt that Jokic walks away with his 3rd straight MVP to become the first one since Larry Bird to do three-peat…right?
We’re actually not so sure. Voters fatigue could set in and potentially move away from Jokic as the clear cut best in the league as this it happens all the time.
Maybe the most notorious victims of voter fatigue is LeBron James, specifically in 2011 (or any other year in his career). Pair Derrick Roses story as the home town hero with his generational explosiveness, coming up with a new poster pretty much every other night, and leading his stout Chicago Bulls to a #1 seed, it was hard for media members and of course fans not to flock to him anointing him as the MVP of that year.
But, if you take the numbers and compare the two, LeBron did what he always does which was dominate the game in all aspects with his usual 26 points ,7 rebounds, and 7 assists stat line. Rose averaged 25 points himself, but was less efficient from the field and a worse defender than James at that time.
What plays a role
There were two main factors that played into James not winning what very well could have been his third straight MVP in 2011. That year was LeBron’s first year on the new look Miami Heat. This move soured a ton of fans and media members who viewed him largely as weak for joining up and creating the then super team. There was also the fact that James had won the two prior MVP’s in 2009 and 2010.
As previously stated Jokic checks every single box imaginable for another MVP season. I didn’t even bring up that he is cementing himself as maybe the greatest center ever just from an offensive standpoint. But there are a number of other players who are making their cases just as strong. Joel Embiid for example just outplayed the MVP front runner on national TV this past Saturday. Embiid himself has seemingly been waiting patiently to receive the award he’s probably deserved 1 of the last 3 years at the very least so that was seemingly a message sent to the league that it should be his turn.
Who else is in the running?
Giannis Antetokounmpo is continuing to be a dominant two-way machine on the second seeded Bucks, Luka Doncic is still carrying this Mavericks franchise, Jayson Tatum is the best player on the best team in the East even after he slowed down a bit after his hot start to the season. Ja Morant may have a case of Derrick Rose syndrome, a hyper athletic guard with a great defense behind him and exciting highlights has propelled him into the conversation as well.
Jokic is producing at a historic level there is absolutely no doubt about that. Will MVP voters continue to give him the due praise for it is the question. The talent in the Association right now is arguably at an all-time high so there are many factors and many other players who are making an extremely strong case for MVP themselves. Will Jokic continue to bring awards to the Mile High City, or is it someone else’s turn?
Featured Image: Jack Dempsey / AP