Jay C. Brandriet
It’s not necessary to guess who the NBA’s Most Valuable Player is until about mid-season.
Sports is covered differently now, and fans can gauge an award like this from beginning to end.
Early on I was feeling that MVP heat from Steph and KD.
As we approached mid-year, I thought Ja Morant and DeMar DeRozan kind of looked the part.
Jayson Tatum and the Celtics exploded in the second half.
Devin Booker ended up “the best player on the best team.”
Luka was awesome and will be an annual threat to take home this crown.
WHO WINS THIS TIGHT NBA MVP RACE?
Joel Embiid was the first Center to average 30 since 1982. His 33.8 minutes per game, are the fewest ever for a scoring champion. He pushed through the Ben Simmons situation and handled the James Harden transition smoothly.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is the world’s best player. He’s getting better and adding polish. Factoring in his defense and late year moments, he’s got a strong case.
Here are the five reasons I would choose Nikola Jokic.
#1- A STAT TOTAL FIRST
Joker is the ONLY player to surpass 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, and 500 assists.
Looks like a beautiful, well-rounded plate of food.
#2- THE NEW PER KING FOR A SEASON
Nikola recorded the best Player Efficiency Rating of all time (32.85).
Better than 1962 Wilt, 1988 MJ, and 2009 LeBron.
#3- DOING IT ALL
Only six athletes have led their NBA team in all five major stat categories.
#4- HE CARRIED THE MOST WEIGHT
The other two most recognizable names in the Denver rotation are Aaron Gordon and Will Barton.
[Luka has a “similar story” but was available for 9 less games]
Jokic shot 58.3% from the field and 81% from the line.
He had 19 Triple-Doubles and destroyed a lot of the advanced stats departments.
This guy’s passing skills are legendary.
#5- THE NUGGETS WON ENOUGH
I understand a 48-34 record and a sixth seed is not a typical MVP mark.
Giannis Bucks and Joel’s 76ers are much better teams.
Each of those franchises won only 3 more games than Denver.
Chris Broussard noted, “this was the most difficult choice in my two decades as a voter.”
Emerging from this 3-man race, would make Embiid’s first award memorable.
Giannis would have a say it out loud, third!
Joker is worthy of being the 13th player in history, to be a back-to-back league MVP.
Jay C. Brandriet