Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic won the 2020-2021 NBA Most Valuable Player award on Tuesday, June 8 (Wednesday, June 9, Manila time).
Jokic started all 72 games for the Nuggets and averaged 26.4 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 8.3 assists per contest – all setting or matching career-highs.
The Serbian shot 56.6% from the floor, including 38.8% from three-point range, and made 86.8% of his free throws.
Jokic, the first Nuggets player to bag the NBA MVP award, is the lowest-drafted player at pick No. 41 to win.
He’s also the sixth player born outside the US to cop the league’s top individual plum, joining Giannis Antetokounmpo (Greece), Hakeem Olajuwon (Nigeria), Steve Nash (South Africa), Tim Duncan (Virgin Islands), and Dirk Nowitzki (West Germany).
Denver finished third in the Western Conference at 47-25 and began its Western Conference semifinal series against the Phoenix Suns on Monday with a 122-105 loss. The Nuggets eliminated the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round in six games.
Jokic is averaging 31.4 points and 10.3 rebounds through seven postseason contests.
Perhaps the biggest indicator of Jokic’s MVP status was how the Nuggets fared when star guard Jamal Murray went down for the season with an ACL tear on April 12. With Jokic carrying the team, the Nuggets finished 13-5 down the stretch to secure the No. 3 seed.
The other MVP finalists are Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid and Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry.