Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic has officially been named the NBA KIA 2020-21 Most Valuable Player. This marks the player’s first NBA MVP award of his career and also makes him the first Serbian player selected for the achievement, joining other European MVP winners Dirk Nowitzki (Germany) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (Greece).
In the 2014 NBA Draft, Jokic was a second-round pick and selected 41st overall. By winning the Maurice Podoloff Trophy, it makes Jokic the lowest-drafted player to be selected as the most valuable player. Jokic received 91 first-place votes, earning a total of 971 points from a global panel of 100 broadcasters and sportswriters. Along with the KIA NBA MVP Award fan vote, Jokic comes out on top with 101 ballots. Finishing second place is Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid with 586 points then Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry with 453 points. Antetokounmpo and Pheonix Suns‘ Chris Paul are fourth and fifth place respectively.
This season, Jokic averaged 26.4 points and 10.8 rebounds this season, both career-highs for the Serbian center. Playing in all 72 games for Denver, his hard work this season has led the Nuggets to the third seed of the Western Conference playoffs. The Denver Nuggets are currently in the second-round playoff series against the Phoenix Suns. Even though Jokic dropped 22 points and nine rebounds, Denver lost Game 1 by 17 points. Throughout the postseason so far, he has averaged better than 31 points and 10 rebounds.
The MVP is a part-time comedian ?
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) June 8, 2021
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 8, 2021
A look at the first-place NBA MVP votes ? @AdamSchefter
D-Rose’s was from the fan vote. pic.twitter.com/MkOHClayWP
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 9, 2021
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) June 8, 2021
Elsewhere in the NBA, Hennessy has tapped Russell Westbrook for its new initiative to help BIPOC communities.