Denver Nuggets coach Michael Malone criticized the “ugly, nasty” debate surrounding the 2022-23 NBA MVP race, saying it has turned off his star player, Nikola Jokić. Malone pointed out that there are several deserving candidates, including Joel Embiid, Luka Dončić, and Jayson Tatum, but the negative rhetoric around the MVP race has been disappointing. Malone urged people to celebrate the players and build them up, rather than tearing them down.
Jokić has been the front-runner for the MVP award for much of the season, with impressive stats, including averaging 24.8 points, 11.9 rebounds, and 9.9 assists per game. The Nuggets also have the best record in the Western Conference and are likely to finish the season in that position.
However, much of the conversation around Jokić’s candidacy has not focused on his on-court performance. Instead, it has been a narrative-driven debate that includes criticizing other players, recategorizing the regular-season award to account for postseason failures, and questioning whether Jokić deserves to win a third straight MVP when Michael Jordan and LeBron James never did.
Kendrick Perkins of ESPN even suggested that Jokić may be benefiting from a racial bias because he is white, a comment that was criticized by Charles Barkley and corrected by ESPN’s First Take.
Despite the outside noise, Jokić has maintained that he does not care about the MVP award and is only focused on winning basketball games. The criticism around the Nuggets’ playoff struggles also does not hold much weight, as Jokić has led the team deeper into the postseason than Embiid has ever led the Sixers.
Overall, Malone’s comments reflect a desire to celebrate the greatness of all players and avoid negative rhetoric that tears them down. The MVP race is just one aspect of the game, and it should not overshadow the many talented players who make the NBA an exciting and competitive league.
Is Nikola Jokić’s Unmatched Skill Set Enough to Secure His Second Straight NBA MVP Award?
Nikola Jokić is once again a strong contender for the NBA Most Valuable Player award. He has been a dominant force for the Denver Nuggets this season, averaging close to a triple-double with 24.8 points, 11.9 rebounds, and 9.9 assists per game. He has also been a key factor in leading the Nuggets to the top of the Western Conference standings.
“I don’t think about it anymore,”
– Nikola Jokic on the MVP race
— NBACentral (@TheDunkCentral) March 25, 2023
Jokić’s skill set as a big man is unique and unparalleled in the league today. He has incredible court vision and passing ability, and his scoring and rebounding make him a triple threat on the court. He has also been consistent throughout the season, putting up impressive numbers and leading his team to victories.
While there are other worthy candidates for the MVP award this season, Jokić’s performance has certainly put him in the conversation once again. If he can maintain his level of play and continue to lead the Nuggets to success, he could very well be named MVP for the second straight season.