Nikola Jokic Named Back-to-Back NBA MVP | Despite His Team Losing In Round One, This Was The Correct Choice

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

The Denver Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic has been named Most Valuable Player for the second straight season, according to Adrian Wojnarowski. He beat out the Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid and the Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Nuggets lost in round one of the playoffs, causing people to question whether he deserved to win.

FS1’s Nick Wright, the mainstream media’s number one anti-Jokic member, was predictable upon learning the news.

“The NBA MVP is now one less thing that I need to care about. Once upon a time it mattered. … Back-to-back MVPs used to be reserved for the all time best of the best, + Steven Nash. Two yrs in a row, Jokić’s team is AT HOME when the award’s actually announced.”

Jokic becomes the 13th player in NBA history to earn the award in back-to-back seasons. He joins Antetokounmpo, Stephen Curry and LeBron James as the only active players to achieve the feat.

As usual, Wright and all the anti-Jokic people are presenting the MVP award in a disingenuous way and continuously moving the goalposts.

Jokic averaged 27.1 points, 13.8 rebounds, and 7.9 assists per game this season, if counting stats are your thing. Those averages are comparable with Antetokounmpo and Embiid’s numbers.

If we’re talking advanced numbers it’s not close. Jokic led the league in EPM at +9.3. That means per 100 possessions relative to his teammates and the opponent, the Nuggets are 9.3 points better than their opponents when Jokic is on the floor.

WS/48 is the most accurate predictor of NBA MVP the last 12 seasons. League average is .100. Jokic led the league at .296. That’s almost three times the average.

Jokic led the Nuggets all season without Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. Two max salary players and the Nuggets’ second- and third-best players. Despite that, the Nuggets finished above .500 and in the playoffs with 48 wins. Only three less wins than the Bucks and 76ers, who were relatively healthy all season.

If you want to make the case for Antetokounmpo or Embiid that’s fine. Had either of them won they would have been deserving. But can we stop pretending that Jokic isn’t worthy or deserving of the award?

A Jokic MVP win doesn’t mean everybody else is trash. Contrary to popular online opinion.

The MVP is a regular season award, for those of you in the back that can’t hear so well. Now, if you want to crown a playoff MVP that’s cool. Let’s petition the league to crown the best playoff performer and not just Finals MVP.

We can take it a step further and announce and All-NBA playoff team with a Sixth Man if you want. Who were the five best players all postseason and the best sub?

In some years we will have a ton of overlap, in some years we won’t. That’s the beauty of sports.

Last season the Bucks won the title and Antetokounmpo was named Finals MVP. He might have been named the playoffs MVP had that award existed. But leaving that titanic seven-game series in the conference semis against the Brooklyn Nets, who was the consensus best player in that series and the world? HINT: It wasn’t Giannis.

This is how our human brains work. Biases like recency and the anchoring effect limit our ability to properly contextualize and process events in the moment. We haven’t seen Jokic play basketball in two weeks. Conversely, Antetokounmpo just dropped 40+ points, Embiid returned and that series is now tied, and Luka Doncic just led the Mavericks to two straight wins.

Of course they all must be better at basketball than Jokic or he’d be still playing, right?

No matter. Jokic won the MVP and he is more than deserving.