- Nikola Jokic has been voted as the NBA’s 2020-21 MVP winner.
- At 41st overall in the 2014 NBA Draft, Jokic is the lowest drafted player ever to win the NBA’s MVP award.
- The Nuggets enter Game 2 against Phoenix as six point betting underdogs.
Denver’s Nikola Jokic has been named as the NBA’s 2020-21 NBA MVP.
League commissioner Adam Silver broke the news by interrupting a Nuggets meeting to congratulate Jokic:
Adam Silver interrupted Denver’s meeting to announce Jokic as MVP 👏
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 8, 2021
Jokic was the overwhelming betting favorite in the best NBA betting sites after leading the Nuggets to the third best record in the Western Conference this season.
He was the runaway winner of the award, getting 91 of 101 first place votes and amassing a total of 971 points. Sixers’ big man Joel Embiid, who was the betting favorite before suffering an injury in midseason, finished second in the voting while Golden State’s sweet-shooting Stephen Curry came in third. Two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks finished 4th.
Interestingly, New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose got one first place vote. But while that was a surprise, Jokic winning the award wasn’t. He was one of the most consistent and durable players in the league this season.
Lowest Draft Pick to Win MVP Award
Nikola Jokic is the lowest draft pick EVER to win the NBA MVP Award. 🔥🃏
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) June 8, 2021
Jokic is the first 2nd round draft pick and the lowest drafted player ever to win MVP honors. The Joker was the 41st overall pick of the 2014 NBA Draft by the Nuggets. He was so far off the draft board that when Denver picked him, the TV broadcast was showing a Taco Bell commercial:
Nikola Jokic was picked 41st…
during a Taco Bell commercial.
Now, he’s the MVP 🏆pic.twitter.com/NueEkIjQKT
— The Association (@association) June 8, 2021
He is also the first center since Shaquille O’Neal in 2000 to be named MVP, the first player in Denver Nuggets franchise history to win the award, and the first Serbian player to be given such honor. Jokic is also the first MVP winner since Kobe Bryant in 2007-08 to play every regular season game for his team.
Jokic averaged 26.4 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 8.3 assists per game during the regular season. He joins Oscar Robertson ( three times ) and Russell Westbrook ( twice ) as the only players in NBA history to average at least 25 points, 10 rebounds, and 8 assists in a single season.
Nuggets Looking to Bounce Back in Game 2
— azcentral sports (@azcsports) June 8, 2021
With the MVP award in the bag, the Nuggets hope that Jokic will even play better in their current series against the Phoenix Suns. Not that the Joker isn’t, but they will need more from him if they are to topple the 2nd seeded Suns. Jokic scored 22 points on 10-23 shooting with 9 rebounds in Game 1 but without Jamal Murray and Will Barton, that wasn’t enough for the Nuggets as the Suns ran away with Game 1.
Denver heads to Wednesday’s Game 2 as six-point underdogs to the Suns at online sportsbook BetOnline. The Nuggets are also a sizeable +205 underdog at the moneyline and are +320 dogs to win the series. However, Denver is a team which has defied the odds this season.
The Nuggets’ odds tumbled after Murray suffered a season-ending ACL injury. But instead of folding, the Nuggets fought back and clinched the third seed in the East. They have also gotten excellent backcourt production from Monte Morris, Austin Rivers, and Facu Campazzo. Michael Porter Jr. has also stepped up his game in Murray’s absence. If they can rally behind their MVP, the series is far from over.