Nikola Jokic came into this season fresh off winning two straight regular season MVP awards.
It was the consensus opinion that in order to legitimately qualify for a third he would have to do something truly epic, magical and historical.
Despite putting forth one of his most impressive campaigns ever and the Denver Nuggets consistently looking like the best team in the NBA, voters overwhelmingly decided to give the MVP to Joel Embiid this season.
They did this despite the Philadelphia 76ers finishing third in the East and never truly looking like the conference’s best team.
One voter, Mark Jackson, didn’t even have Jokic anywhere in the top-five on his MVP ballot.
Of course, everyone knows what ended up happening in the postseason. Embiid choked in the playoffs and Philly got booted early. Jokic, meanwhile, just swept LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers to punch a ticket to the NBA Finals.
Denver will undoubtedly be favored against whoever they end up facing, though it will likely be the Miami Heat.
Following his team’s dominant Game 4 win over L.A., Jokic was asked about losing the MVP award to Embiid this season.
“I don’t think about MVPs anymore,” Jokic said.
“I mean, I think it’s … people are just mean in saying that Embiid shouldn’t have won it. I think he should have won it. I think he was playing, if you watch it, extremely, extremely tough basketball through whole season … He was really amazing in 82 games or how many games he played.”
While Jokic’s brothers might be thugs who bully 86-year-old men, he himself is one of the league’s brightest stars. And this season, at least, he seems like objectively the NBA’s best player.
At least Austin Reaves’ girl had a good time at the Lakers game. https://t.co/jqRH5YhIWd
— Game 7 (@game7__) May 23, 2023
It is a shame he didn’t get the MVP he clearly deserved.
Will Jokic ultimately walk away with an NBA Finals MVP to make up for the one Embiid robbed him of? An answer one way or the other will emerge soon enough.