The race for the NBA MVP was buzzing all season long. With the season being as competitive and tight as it was, the winner of the MVP was very unpredictable. There were players who were balling out extremely well and were in the discussion early on like Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry. But they fell off after being injured or having a bad stretch of games.
The drumroll for the announcement
The Frontrunners were later on decided to be Joel Embiid, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Nikola Jokic. Each of them put up historical numbers in the NBA season with their skillset. Embiid won the scoring title becoming the first center since Shaquille O’Neal to achieve such a feat. Jokic became the first player ever to record 2000 points, 1000 rebounds and 500 assist in a single season.
Such was the intensity of the regular season. But only one could be the victor of this season-long award. It usually goes to the player either leading his team to the best record in the league, the impact he has when he is taken out of the team or if he has created history. The player who was commemorated with the 2021-22 MVP is NIKOLA JOKIC of the Denver Nuggets!
Jokic wins the MVP two times in a row
The award was well deserving of Nikola Jokic as he has contributed more than anyone could have managed and has pulled the Nuggets team back to the Playoffs with the 6th seed in the Western Conference. He put up career numbers of 27.1 points, 13.8 rebounds, 7.9 assists and 1.5 steals per game.
Comparison between the other frontruners
Now arguments will be made that Joel Embiid has been the better scorer on his team and has led them to the 4th seed that too in a tightly contested Eastern Conference. On top of that he did not have his sidekick Ben Simmons for more than half a season. Dealing with those adversities, Embiid whould have taken the cake.
While the aforementioned statements makes a lot of sense and Embiid did carry his team. But the supporting cast of the 76ers are way better than that of the Denver Nuggets. In the absence of Simmons, the 76ers had players like Tobias Harris, Tyrese Maxey and later on Harden got added to the mix after the trade deadline. These players have the ability to get baskets of their own and could provide huge sparks of offense without relying on Embiid.
On the other hand, without Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr, the Serbian Superstar had to make his teammates better if they wanted to win. He had players like Aaron Gordon, Will Barton and Monte Morris. All of whom had difficulties creating their own play and was heavily relying on Jokic. Thanks to their defensive efforts, Jokic could break lose on the offensive end.
So taking Embiid out of the 76ers lineup would still lead them to the playoffs but they might have made it as a lower seed. If you take Jokic out of the lineup, then the Nuggets would be hovering in the bottom. Jokic’s value to the team cannot be replaced with any other player because he did something only he was capable of doing.
MVP for 3 times or an NBA Championship?
Hence, Jokic was awarded with the 2021-22 NBA Most Valuable Player Award and most deservingly so. He has won the award 2 years in a row and will most likely keep improving to win it for the 3rd time in a row. He will become the only player since Larry Bird to win the it 3 consecutive times if he does it. But of course for a player of his stature a championship is more important and that is what he will be gunning for the next season when the Nuggets are at full force.