Nuggets player Nikola Djokic wins NBA Player of the Year award for the second year in a row

Nikola Jokic was named the 2021-22 NBA Most Valuable Player, and was awarded the league’s highest individual honor for the second year in a row, The league was announced on Wednesday evening. Jokic received 65 out of 100 possible votes in first place and received a total of 875 points, surpassing Joel Embiid’s total score of 706 and Giannis Antetokounmpo’s total of 595 points. Jokic’s consecutive MVP awards match the achievement of fellow finalist Giannis Antetokounmpo during the 2018-19 and 19-20 seasons. And third finalist Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers, has never won the award.

Aside from assists, Jokic managed to improve his averages per game in every major stat category in the regular season. He finished his career with highest points (27.1), rebounds (13.8), blocks (0.9) and steals (1.5) per game. He also has a career high of 58.3 percent of his field goals, and while it doesn’t match his career high in free throws or 3-points, he has his highest in total free throws (379) and 3 (97) made .

The race between Jokic, Embiid and Antetokounmpo was fierce. Embiid won the scoring title with an average of 30.6 points. The Milwaukee Bucks of Antetokounmpo finished the top seed among the three, finishing third in the Eastern Conference with a number 51-31. 76 players from Embiid set the same record but finished fourth due to a tie-breaker. Nuggets Jokic was the No. 6 seed in the West despite winning only three games and losing in the first round by the Golden State Warriors.

All of the MVP finalists had to overcome meaningful adversity to put their teams in place. Embiid played the first half of the season without Ben Simmons sitting out due to a trade request, and Antetokounmue had to play outside his position due to an injury sustained by Brock Lopez. But Lopez eventually returned, and the 76ers replaced Simmons with James Harden. Jokic never got such relief. Fellow star Jamal Murray hasn’t played a single game this season, and No. 3 option Michael Porter Jr. has played just nine games. Jokic’s team record may have been worse than the other two, but his ability to keep the Nuggets afloat without his second and third best players likely win this trophy.

Jokic is the 15th player to win multiple Player of the Year awards, joining Bob Pettit, Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Musa Malone, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Karl Malone, Tim Duncan, Steve Nash, LeBron James, Stephen Curry and Antetokonmo. He is the only Nugget to win an NBA MVP award, although Spencer Haywood won the ABA MVP award when the team was still known as the Denver Rockets.

With Murray and Porter injured, Denver never really had a chance at a championship this season, but Jokic was able to carry them through to the playoffs in ways no other player likely had. He’s not the best traditional player in style or standings, but the voters spoke out, and they decided he was the most valuable player of the 2021-22 NBA season.

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