Seven years ago, the Denver Nuggets used the 41st pick in the NBA Draft for an unforeseen center from Serbia.
On Tuesday, Nikola Jokic became the sixth international player – and third European – to win the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award, ESPN sources confirmed.
The Denver star became the first center since Shaquille O̵
Jokic amassed one of the best offensive seasons in NBA history, finishing the year with the best career averages of 26.4 points and 8.3 assists and tying the best career with an average of 10.8 rebounds. He also shoots 56.6% of the field, 38.8% of the range of 3 points and 86.8% of the foul. He also led Denver to the second round of the playoffs, despite the injuries of three of Denver’s guards – Jamal Murray, Will Barton and PJ Dosier – a feat that none of the other teams reached the finals of last year’s balloon playoff conference. in Orlando – the Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat and Boston Celtics – managed to combine.
The combination of the game and Jokic’s availability gave him an irreconcilable case for the award in the eyes of voters. He became the first player in the second round to win the league’s highest individual honor in the overall draft era, and also joined Hakeem Olajuwon, Tim Duncan, Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki and Giannis Antetokounmpo as international award winners. .
Perhaps Embiid, who had the best season of his career and led Philadelphia to the best record in the Eastern Conference, won this award if he did not get a bone bruise in his knee in March. But during the regular season, Embiid missed 21 games – about the only thing that could have slowed him down as he set career records in points per game (28.5) and three percent of shooting (a total of 51.3%, 37 , 7% of 3 -point per point, 85.9% of the free throw line).
After Curry, a two-time winner of this award, missed all but three games last season after breaking his arm, he scored the NBA for the second time in his career, averaging 32 points per game while shooting 42.1 % of 3-point career range with a high 12.7 rainbow experience.
If in doubt, Curry was still among the game’s elite after a year spent mostly in his mid-30s, he quickly dispelled them. The 33-year-old almost independently kept Golden State’s offense during the season without Clay Thompson, who missed his second consecutive season due to injury, this time with a torn Achilles.
Like last year, the NBA has returned to its traditional playoffs during the playoffs, instead of having a big show at the end of the offseason due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
ESPN’s Om Youngmisuk contributed to this report.