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Nuggets’ Jokic scoops third NBA Most Valuable Player award

By AFP - May 09,2024 - Last updated at May 09,2024

Nikola Jokic #15 pf the Denver Nuggets is fouled driving against Kyle Anderson #1 and Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves in the second quarter during Game Two of the Western Conference Second Round Play-offs at Ball Arena on Monday in Denver, Colorado (AFP photo)

LOS ANGELES — Denver Nuggets centre Nikola Jokic was named NBA Most valuable Player for the third time in four seasons on Wednesday.

The 29-year-old Serbian star, who won the award in 2021 and 2022, finished runner-up in the voting in 2023 but had the satisfaction of leading the Nuggets to a first NBA title.

This season he averaged 26.4 points, 12.4 rebounds and 9.0 assists in the regular season and beat out Oklahoma City Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks in final voting for the award.

He became the second player, after Oscar Robertson, to record 2,000 points, 900 rebounds and 600 assists in a season.

His 25 triple-doubles and 68 double-doubles were both second in the league.

Jokic enters elite territory with a third MVP crown. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s six MVPs are the most ever. Bill Russell and Michael Jordan won five apiece and Wilt Chamberlain and LeBron James four.

Jokic joins Moses Malone, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson as three-time winners after earning 79 first-placed votes compared to 15 for Gilgeous-Alexander and four for Doncic.

Behind Jokic, the 57-25 Nuggets matched the franchise high for victories in a season — although they were tied for best record in the West with Oklahoma City and ended up with the second seed.

Whether Jokic will be able to combine an MVP award and the title this season remains to be seen.

The Nuggets dropped the first two games of their Western Conference semifinal series to the Minnesota Timberwolves and face the tough task of trying to claw back on the Timberwolves’ home court starting on Friday.

Jokic’s victory marks the sixth straight season that the MVP award has gone to a player born outside the United States. The last US-born player to win was James Harden in 2018.

 

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