Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic was just named Most Valuable Player for the 2020/21 NBA season. And, even though it didn't come as a surprise, some people still talked down on him and his great performances.
Small market teams don't get the recognition other teams do. They're not in the spotlight 24/7 like the Los Angeles Lakers or Golden State Warriors thus making it more difficult for a player like Jokic to win the award.
But make no mistake. Nikola Jokic isn't only a deserving MVP but also one of the greatest MVPs in NBA history. But hey, don't take our word for it, let's just look at the facts and break this down.
He's The First Center To Win MVP In Over 20 Years
The MVP award had been exclusively reserved for guards and forwards over the past 20 seasons. Nikola Jokic became the first big man since Shaquille O'Neal to win the distinction. And they say the center position is dead, huh?
He's The 6th International Player To Win MVP
Nikola Jokic is the first Serbian player to win this award. He joins Hakeem Olajuwon (Nigeria), Tim Duncan (U.S. Virgin Islands), Steve Nash (Canada), Dirk Nowitzki (Germany), and Giannis Antetokounmpo (Greece) as the only international players to win this award. Also, an international player has won MVP three years in a row now. You got next, Luka Doncic.
He Had A Historically Great Season
Nikola Jokic just had the 9th highest plus-minus in a full season in NBA history (11.68), trailing players like Michael Jordan, LeBron James, David Robinson, and Stephen Curry. He averaged 26.4 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 8.3 assists per game on 57/39/87 shooting splits. He was also top 5 in total points, rebounds, and assists. He led the NBA in win shares, offensive win shares, win shares per 48 minutes, value over replacement, plus/minus, offensive plus/minus, PER, and field goals.
He's The Lowest Drafted MVP Ever
Nikola Jokic is the first second-round pick to win MVP in NBA history. As a matter of fact, no player taken beyond 15th had ever won the award, while Jokic was the 41st pick. He was so irrelevant at the time that they didn't even air him being drafted, he was taken during a Taco Bell commercial.
He Can Now Sign The Largest Contract In NBA History
After winning this award, The Joker is now eligible to sign the largest contract extension in the history of the Association in 2022. He could sign a 5-year, $241 million deal that would pay him $42.6M, $44.9M, $48.2M, $51.5M, and $54.8M per year.
He Was Also The Most Durable Player
Nikola Jokic played every single game of the season. He finished third in total minutes with 2,488 while playing 34.6 minutes per game. He's the first MVP since Kobe Bryant (2008) to be featured in every single game.
He Completed Kobe Bryant's Challenge
Talking about Kobe Bryant, the Black Mamba actually challenged Nikola Jokic to win MVP back in 2019. Just two years later and a year after his tragic death, The Joker completed that challenge.
He's The First Denver Nugget To Win The Award
The Denver Nuggets have had historically great players like Alex English, Carmelo Anthony, or Dan Issel; yet no one was ever to win this award. He put Denver into the map and has a strong case to finish his career as the greatest player in franchise history.
Nikola Jokic went from chugging 3 liters of coke per day to winning MVP. He's a simple, yet hard-working guy that simply beat the odds. He's relatable off the court and a treat to watch on it, and one of the most deserving MVPs ever.