Another year and the NBA’s Most Valuable Player Award frontrunner Nikola Jokic meteoric rise to prominence is a mystery. The Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Los Angeles Lakers LeBron James were both voted MVP respectively. At the end of the season, he was widely considered a superior player. The scoring list is the best place to look for M.V.P. candidacy indications. Jokic was the 11th best scorer in the NBA entering Monday’s games, averaging 26.2 points per contest. That’s a gain of 6.3 points per game over the previous year.
It’s not hard to figure out where the progress has come from. Jokic is shooting from 2-point range at a rate of 14.6 per game, which is an increase of more than three tries compared to last season’s average, and he’s putting up around two of those shots. That’s an extra four points every game. He’s going to the line one more time per game and making the conversion, which adds up to about one extra point.
His 3-point shooting % is one area where he has made significant strides. He has made 41.2 percent of his shots this season after shooting in the 30s for the previous five seasons. Taking six more shots than he was before accounts for the majority of his newfound success.
Jokic has improved his game this season in other ways than only by shooting the ball more frequently from the field and knocking down a few more 3-pointers. As a whole, Jokic’s game hasn’t changed all that much save for the fact that he’s improved his passing game even further. His assist totals have increased from 7 to 8.5 per game.
Good ol’ stats
He’s now contributing to 40.4% of his teammates’ successful field goals, up from 35.2% a year ago. That’s sixth in the league in terms of points. What makes that so remarkable? 6-feet-11-inches tall. All five of the players ahead of him in terms of assist % are shooting guards, as well. Bam Adebayo of the Miami Heat is 27th in the league with a 27 percent field goal percentage. This would be a historic accomplishment for the Nuggets if Jokic could lead them to their first NBA championship game
Yes, the Denver Nuggets’ offense does revolve around their big man, as previously said. Next on the assist percentage list after Jokic is 6-foot-3 guard Jamal Murray, who is currently sidelined with an ankle injury. As a result of his trademark long outlet pass, which has been compared to a water polo pass that Jokic used to play in his native Serbia, Jokic’s assist totals have risen.
Although his side is playing at a relatively slow pace, Jokic has accumulated strong raw figures. The Denver Nuggets are 28th in the NBA in possessions per 48 minutes with an average of 97 per game. When your club is closer to the Washington Wizards’ 103.8 or the Golden State Warriors’ 102.4 possessions, it’s much easier to lead the league in scoring and other categories. As a result of his lack of foot quickness, Jokic has stated that he enjoys a slower tempo of play. Add up all of his data, and you’re left with a stunning visual representation.
Overall, NBA rates Nikola Jokic as the second-best offensive player in the league in terms of points per 100 possessions. The only ones trailing front is Los Angeles Clippers star, Kawhi Leonard. When it comes to broad metrics like offensive win shares, box plus/minus, and value over a replacement player. Basketball-Reference gives him the highest ranking of any player in the league. The Knicks’ Julius Randle is the only other player to have played more minutes than him this season.
Jokic’s M.V.P. case has been knocked down by those who believe that a player’s contribution to the team should be taken into consideration when deciding the winner. As the third seed in the West in the shortened 2019-20 NBA season, the Denver Nuggets are on track to make it to the conference finals again. They were expected to fall short of the two Los Angeles teams going into the season. Because of injuries, the teams have fallen behind Phoenix Suns and Utah Jazz, and Denver is now in third place.
Nuggets fans will quickly forget their seed if Nikola Jokic leads them to their first N.B.A. championship game appearance. As of Monday night’s game, the team had won nine of its previous ten games despite the absence of Murray from the roster. Despite this, the media members’ M.V.P. ballots will be due at the end of the regular season, thus it doesn’t matter.