Nikola Jokic was a second-round pick. He’s not a great athlete. He was slow to assert himself.
Now, he’s NBA MVP.
The Nuggets center topped other finalists Joel Embiid and Stephen Curry for this award.
Shams Charania of The Athletic:
Jokic deserved this award, and it wasn’t particularly close.
He’s the best-passing center of all-time. He’s a lethal scorer with shooting touch from distance and power in the post. He has creative moves to get his shot off at every level. He’s such a smart player who puts his teammates in position to succeed. He consumes rebounds. After getting into better shape, he has sharpened his defense.
Importantly, he stayed healthy, playing all 72 games this season. The value he provided Denver was immense.
Picked No. 41, Jokic is the lowest-drafted player ever to win MVP.* The previous record was held by Steve Nash and Giannis Antetokounmpo, both No. 15 picks. Willis Reed is the only other second-rounder to win the award, though he was the No. 8 overall pick in 1964.
*Excluding Moses Malone, who entered the NBA through the ABA rather than the NBA draft.
The Nuggets might be in trouble down 1-0 to the Suns in their second-round series. But they have a bright future with the 26-year-old Jokic. This award is just another reminder of that – and how far Jokic has come.