If he becomes officially the most valuable player in the NBA by the end of the season, Denver’s Nikola Jokic will enter the history of the competition as the lowest drafted basketball player with the most esteemed individual recognition in his hands.
The Serbian played another match in the MVP style, against Portland, on April 21 and thus only continued to confirm his candidacy for the best player in the NBA regular season. Almost no one doubts that the 26-year-old center, when the time comes, will grab the most reputable individual recognition in the best basketball league in the world. Of course, bookmakers all over the world have the odds for the MVP contention – among them are the best Poland bookmakers.
Jokic might push many boundaries in MVP history
Jokic has an even more difficult task now than until recently because his team has just remained without another pillar, Jamal Murray. As for the game against Portland, in particular, Jokic led the team from Colorado to a 106-105 victory in an exciting finish, which the Nuggets have had plenty so far this season.
The Serb was the most efficient individual of the match in the fourth consecutive triumph of Denver with 26 points, but he was one rebound short of the 10th successive double-double. Additionally, he had five assists. And most importantly, in key moments, Jokic was once again at a high level. On the do-or-die moments in the last three and a half minutes of the match, ‘The Joker’ put in five points and prevented Lillard’s ‘Dame Time’ attempt, although there was drama until the last second.
Back to the story from the beginning of the text: If it happens that he wins the MVP, Jokic will push many boundaries in the history of the award, which was first given in 1956. After Hakeem Olajuwon, Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki, and Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jokic will become only the fifth MVP whose primary passport was not US (of course, we left out Tim Duncan because he was born in the Virgin Islands, which are US territory).
Only ‘Mo’ Malone is ahead of Jokic
The Serbian basketball player will potentially be only the second officially best NBA player who was not selected in the first round of the draft, but his rise from the 41st position to the MVP trophy would be far greater than that of Willis Reed, the eighth pick of the second round in 1964, because back then, i.e. in the season 1964-1965, the NBA consisted of only nine teams, while today that number is 30. Also, Nikola will likely become the first Denver player with a prestigious award in his hands that was ‘regularly’ embraced by only one non-drafted player in the NBA history – Moses Malone.
Namely, the owner of three MVP awards decided to enter professional waters as a high school student through the then ABA, that is, through the Utah Stars, who chose him from the 22nd place (third round) in 1974. After the merger of the ABA and the NBA, two years later, but also the shutdown of his team Spirits of St. Louis, to which he moved in 1975, and the Kentucky Colonels, Malone’s name appeared in the so-called extended draft in the summer of 1976. From this draft, Moses was picked up as no.5 by the Portland Trail Blazers and then forwarded to the Buffalo Braves (today’s LA Clippers).
However, ‘Mo’ Malone stayed in Buffalo for a short time, only two matches, before being traded to Houston. The rest is a part of golden history, primarily of Philadelphia, just as the part of golden history was choosing former territorial picks, Wilt Chamberlain and Oscar Robertson. The legendary duo, if there was no such restriction, would also be chosen at the top of the first round of the draft…
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