Nikola Jokic wrapped up his MVP case in a tight bow after accomplishing a feat no other play has ever NBA legend has touched.
— x – Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) April 8, 2022
Joker was serenaded with “M-V-P” chants after scoring a fourth-quarter bucket to become the first player in NBA history to accumulate 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, and 500 assists in a single season. Jokic also became the first player since Wilt Chamberlain to register at last 35 points and 12 rebounds in five straight games.
We liking the headband ? The Joker always has something up this sleeve.
— SLAM (@SLAMonline) April 8, 2022
The only other player who’s come close to accomplishing the same combination of stats was Wilt Chamberlain during the 1967-1968 campaign when he led the League in assists but came up eight points short of 2k. However, Wilt the Stilt won his third straight MVP that season. It remains to be seen if Jokic will. He’s in a tight race for the award with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid.
“I mean, it’s cool,” Jokic said per NBA.com. “I like it. Hopefully, I can do it a couple of more times.”
To top off all the good news, the Nuggets (48-33) clinched their fourth straight playoff appearance after beating the Grizzlies, 122-109, led by Jokic’s 35 points, 16 rebounds, and six assist double-double performance. If they beat the Lakers on Sunday and the Jazz suffers two more losses against the Suns and Trail Blazers, the Nuggets can win the Northwest Division, their third divisional title since 2019.
Jokic has averaged 27.1 points, 13.8 boards, and 7.8 dimes per game this season while leading the Nuggets to a sixth-place finish in the always-packed Western Conference without Jamal Murray and Michael Porter by his side. When it comes to winning a second straight MVP award, Jokic says, ‘if that’s enough, it’s enough. If not, you cannot control that.”
Coach Michael Malone wasn’t so subtle with his compliments of Nuggets’ franchise cornerstone.
“The MVP isn’t even a competition,” Malone said. “There’s other great players. I’m not saying they’re not great players. But what Nikola Jokic has done this year — with this team — everything we’ve had to go through is just incredible. He was good last year, and he’s even better this year.”
The Nuggets can still win the Northwest Division with a victory Sunday night against the Lakers and two losses by the Utah Jazz (48-32), who finish up against Phoenix (63-17) and Portland (27-53).