Mike Malone supports Nikola Jokic's MVP campaign: 'It's not even a competition'

2022-04-08 07:18
Credit: Dustin Bradford/Getty Images/AFP
Credit Dustin Bradford/Getty Images/AFP

Nikola Jokic has crossed a statistical threshold not even Wilt Chamberlain has touched. With a fourth-quarter basket over a double-team in the Nuggets' win over Memphis, the Serbian giant became the first player to amass no less than 2.000 points, 1.000 rebounds and 500 assists in a single season.

Denver fans acknowledged the achievement with a standing ovation and chants of "MVP" for the last year's award recipient, who completed the statistical feat regardless of taking a blow and needing a headband.

Jokic is trying to earn MVP honors for the second straight time, regardless of spectacular campaigns from Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo and Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid.

Player of the Game
Nikola  Jokic
Nikola Jokic
Points 35
Accuracy 16-24
Rebounds 16
Assists 6

"I mean, it’s cool," Jokic said afterwards. "I like it. Hopefully I can do it a couple of more times."

Jokic’s late-season surge also saw him become the first player since Chamberlain to register at least 35 points and 12 rebounds in five straight games since the late center.

Regardless of long-term accidents to supporting teammates Jamal Murray (ACL) and Michael Porter Jr., Jokic has lifted the Nuggets to an assured playoff spot for a fourth straight season.

The hunt for this season’s MVP award might be a tight three-way race, but Michael Malone believes there's a clear frontrunner. In his post-game remarks, the Nuggets' coach hurled his own MVP endorsement for Nikola Jokic in the podium. 

"I know I’m very biased, I admit that wholeheartedly, the MVP isn’t even a competition," Malone told reporters on Thursday.

"I mean, there's other great players, but what Nikola Jokic has done this year, with this team, with everything we've had to go through, is incredible."

Jokic and the Nuggets are currently slated for the sixth seed in the Western Conference and still eyeing a top-5 finish before the regular season ends. 

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