Denver Nuggets big man Nikola Jokic has put together a tremendous season.
Jokic’s team finished third in a stacked Western Conference, and it was in no small part due to the 26.5 points, 10.9 rebounds, 8.4 assists and 1.3 steals he is averaging per game.
Despite Monte Morris missing 12 games due to a right hamstring injury, Will Barton sitting out with a right hamstring issue, P.J. Dozier nursing a right adductor problem and Jamal Murray tearing his ACL, Jokic has remained healthy.
The 26-year-old hasn’t missed a game all season.
In the eyes of most NBA media, Jokic is the hands-down, clear-cut league MVP.
In the eyes of Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, however, it’s not so cut-and-dry.
This week, James suggested a different MVP frontrunner: Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry.
“We’re playing versus, in my opinion, the MVP of our league this year in Steph,” James said on Sunday, via Mark Medina of USA Today, of the Lakers facing off against the Warriors in Wednesday’s play-in game. “We got to be prepared for everything they have. They have championship DNA.”
For James, what really stands out is the way Curry has exceeded expectations.
“Everybody counted him out this year,” the Lakers star continued.
“Everybody saying, ‘Now that Klay [Thompson] is hurt, can Steph lead a team on his own? What is he going to do? Can he carry a team on his own? Can he carry a team into the postseason? Can he keep the team afloat?’ He’s done that and more.”
Curry clinched his second career scoring title this year, putting up an average of 31.8 points per game. As James said, he did this while largely being the sole focus of opposing defenses – what with Thompson being out.
Does that make him more worthy of MVP then Jokic? Some NBA players seem to think so.
MVP. no debate ‼️ https://t.co/W4H5WvIVHB
— Ja Morant (@JaMorant) May 16, 2021
And the bias that league officials seem to have against the Serbian star could extend to other facets, like award voting.
This has been a big year for Curry. He came in preaching a very specific message about his future with the Warriors. Along the way, he spurned efforts by James to recruit him to the Lakers and ended up winning over some of his haters in the process.
Will it all culminate in another league MVP award for Curry? Time will tell.
That’s one way to watch a game. https://t.co/rlfZSR4DDe
— Game 7 (@game7__) May 13, 2021
Related: Nikola Vucevic Gets Very Honest About Bulls’ Failures This Year