Denver Nuggets superstar big man Nikola Jokic has put together an MVP type season through 14 games. In a season that consists of less regular season games than most (72), Jokic has dominated the competition and is well on his way to averaging a triple-double.
Jokic is currently averaging 25.1 points, 11.4 rebounds, and 10 assists to go along with just under two steals (1.9) per game. Not only does Jokic lead the NBA in assists per game, but he slots in fourth in steals per game.
Jokic has recorded a double-double in all 14 games to start the year to go along with five triple-doubles. Jokic has fallen just shy of about five other triple-doubles because of just one or two rebounds or assists as well.
When comparing Jokic to past MVP winners, his start though 14 games puts him right in line with the past five victors:
2020-21 — Nikola Jokic: 25.1 PPG, 11.4 REB, 10.0 AST, 1.9 STL
2019-20 — Giannis Antetokounmpo: 30.5 PPG, 13.8 REB, 6.0 AST, 1.4 STL
2018-19 — Giannis Antetokounmpo: 25.6 PPG, 12.7 REB. 5.5 AST, 1.3 STL
2017-18 — James Harden: 30.2 PPG, 10.2 AST, 4.9 REB, 1.7 STL
2016-17 — Russell Westbrook: 31.6 PPG, 10.4 AST, 10.7 REB, 1.6 STL
2015-16 — Steph Curry: 33.6 PPG, 5.6 AST, 5.3 REB, 2.6 STL
Most of the past MVP winners have a leg up on Jokic in terms of their scoring numbers, but where Jokic makes up for it is with his assist numbers. Jokic is the only player to average a triple-double through 14 games, but Westbrook was able to accomplish it during his 2016-17 MVP season.
If Jokic can average a triple-double for the season, it’s hard to see him not bringing home the MVP award. He would become just the third player in NBA history (Westbrook 3 times, Oscar Robertson) to average a triple-double for an entire season.
It would also mean more considering the position Jokic plays. Never before have we seen a center come close to averaging a triple-double for an entire season. If Jokic were able to accomplish that feat, it truly would be remarkable.
One thing all those past MVP winners had in common was team wins. Every player had at least 10 victories through their teams first 14 games, except for Westbrook in 2016-17 with eight victories. The Nuggets currently sit at 7-7 and are still trying to find their way to start the year.
Jokic has put the team on his back through the first couple weeks of the season, but his MVP campaign may rest on the shoulders of his teammates. Jokic has been virtually unstoppable in every game this season, but somehow the Nuggets have only collected seven wins.
In one of Denver’s losses to Dallas in overtime, Jokic not only scored 38 points and hauled in his customary 11 rebounds, but he also made an unreal jumper to send the game into overtime.
Shots like that are going to define Jokic’s MVP season, but the Nuggets have to start winning more games to make this dream a reality. There is no doubt if Jokic continues on this trend of phenomenal play and the Nuggets win some more games, the MVP award would be well within reach.