Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokić has been named the 2021-22 Kia NBA Most Valuable Player, the NBA announced today.
This is the second Kia NBA Most Valuable Player Award for Jokić, who also earned the honor last season. He becomes the 13th player to win the award in consecutive seasons, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlain, Stephen Curry, Tim Duncan, LeBron James, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Moses Malone, Steve Nash, and Bill Russell.
Jokić received 875 points (65 first-place votes) from a global panel of 100 sportswriters and broadcasters. Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid finished in second place with 706 points (26 first-place votes). Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo finished in third place with 595 points (nine first-place votes), followed by Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker in fourth place with 216 points and Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Dončić in fifth place with 146 points. Players received 10 points for each first-place vote, seven points for each second-place vote, five points for each third-place vote, three points for each fourth-place vote, and one point for each fifth-place vote.
This is the first time that both the top three and four of the top five finishers in voting for the Kia NBA Most Valuable Player Award are international players, with Jokić (Serbia), Embiid (Cameroon), and Antetokounmpo (Greece) comprising the top three and Dončić (Slovenia) joining them in the top five. Jokić is the second European player to win the award more than once, joining Antetokounmpo, the MVP in the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons.
In his seventh NBA season, Jokić averaged 27.1 points, 13.8 rebounds, 7.9 assists, 1.47 steals, and 0.85 blocks per game, setting career highs in each category except assists (second highest). Jokić, who played 74 games and averaged 33.5 minutes, ranked sixth in the NBA in points, second in rebounds, eighth in assists, 12th steals, and 33rd in blocks per game. He led the league in total rebounds (1,019) and total defensive rebounds (813). His career-high 58.3 field goal percentage was the eighth highest in the NBA.
Jokić, 27, became the first player in NBA history to record at least 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, and 500 assists in a season and the first player to average at least 25.0 points, 13.0 rebounds, and 6.0 assists in a season. He led the NBA in triple-doubles with 19 and double-doubles with 66, both single-season records for a Nuggets player.
Jokić earned his fourth consecutive NBA All-Star selection and second straight All-Star start. He twice was named the Kia NBA Western Conference Player of the Month (January and March/April) and the NBA Western Conference Player of the Week (Jan. 24 and April 4).
Behind Jokić, the Nuggets (48-34) qualified for the NBA Playoffs presented by Google Pixel for the fourth consecutive season. With Denver trying to clinch a playoff spot late in the season, Jokić averaged 35.7 points, 16.3 rebounds, 7.4 assists, and 2.14 steals in his final seven games.
The Nuggets selected Jokić with the 41st overall pick during the second round of the 2014 NBA Draft. Last season, he became the lowest-drafted player to win the Kia NBA Most Valuable Player Award, except for three-time recipient Moses Malone, who was not selected in the NBA Draft.
Jokić will be presented with a special edition 75th Anniversary commemorative trophy today in celebration of the honor, gifted in addition to the Kia NBA Most Valuable Player Award trophy, which he will receive later. The commemorative trophy, composed of a solid crystal basketball, features the NBA 75 logo 3D laser etched and suspended within its center.
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