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NBA news: Nikola Jokic one of the “most misunderstood MVPs” explains Michael Malone

Denver Nuggets head coach took on MVP prognosticators for what he perceives to be a snub of the reigning Most Value Player, Nikola Jokic.

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NBA news: Nikola Jokic’s MVP-caliber play this season has gone mostly unnoticed by other MVP hopefuls, according to Denver Nuggets coach Michael Malone, who claims that few prior reigning MVPs have ever been handled this way.

It’s unknown what caused Malone to bring this up at this time, however, the Denver Post speculated that it had something to do with the Nuggets being denied a Christmas Day game.

According to StatMuse, Jokic was the only reigning MVP to miss a Christmas game since the NBA increased the Christmas schedule to five games in 2008.

The Nuggets were aware of this when the schedule was released in August.

Nikola Joki, according to Nuggets coach Michael Malone, is one of the most misunderstood MVPs
Nikola Joki, according to Nuggets coach Michael Malone, is one of the most misunderstood MVPs

NBA news: Michael Malone admits Nikola Jokic is a misunderstood MVP

I think he is one of the more disrespected reigning MVPs that I can think of in terms of the attention that he gets,” Michael Malone told reporters before the game. “If you open up the dictionary, and you look up the word consistency, there’s going to be a picture of Nikola there. And that’s going back to the Bubble. That’s going back to a 72-game season last year, and this year we knew Jamal [Murray] was going to be out for an extended period. When you add a Michael Porter, when you add a P.J. Dozier to that [injured] list, it even becomes more incredible what he’s doing.”

It might also be the public debate on who will win the MVP award this season, which usually starts with Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant and then moves on to Giannis Antetokounmpo and eventually Jokic.

Curry has the best odds to win the award at +140 on Tipico Sportsbook, followed by Durant at +200, Antetokounmpo at +650, and Jokic at +1300. Jokic was also ranked fourth in a December ESPN survey of 100 media members.

Malone makes a valid point in this regard. Jokic is playing as good as he did last season, if not better in certain ways, and his on-off stats are sky-high, demonstrating his importance to the club. So why shouldn’t he be favored once more, if that is truly what Malone is implying?

With Murray still recovering from a torn ACL and Porter playing only nine games due to back surgery that will keep him out indefinitely, Jokic has had to carry the Nuggets this season.

Nikola Jokic’s stats

Despite the fact that the Nuggets have had a dizzying mix of players and coaches in and out owing to injuries and health and safety procedures, Jokic has kept them in the postseason race with some of his greatest basketball. Jokic averaged 26.1 points and a league-best 17.3 rebounds in Denver’s previous eight games.

When Jokic earned the award last year, the Nuggets were in third place. It was well-deserved, but it also demonstrated how much respect he commands. Jokic is only the second player in the previous 15 years to earn MVP while playing for a club that didn’t place in the top two of their conference. Russell Westbrook was the only other player to average a triple-double for the first time in his career.

Finally, considering the way the MVP award is handled, it’s possible that Jokic gets disregarded in certain ways. However, in the past, the honor was frequently given to one of the greatest players on one of the strongest teams, rather than the guy who accomplished the most with the least amount of resources.

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