Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic won the 2020-21 NBA Most Valuable Player award, The Athletic reported Tuesday.
Jokic started all 72 games for the Nuggets and averaged 26.4 points, 10.8 rebounds and 8.3 assists per contest -- all setting or matching career highs. The Serbian shot 56.6 percent from the floor, including 38.8 percent from 3-point range, and made 86.8 percent of his free throws.
Denver finished third in the Western Conference at 47-25 and began its Western Conference semifinal series against the Phoenix Suns on Monday with a 122-105 loss. The Nuggets eliminated the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round in six games.
Jokic is averaging 31.4 points and 10.3 rebounds through seven postseason contests. He is the first Denver player to win the NBA MVP award.
Perhaps the biggest indicator of Jokic's MVP status was how the Nuggets fared when star guard Jamal Murray went down for the season with an ACL tear on April 12. With Jokic carrying the team, the Nuggets finished 13-5 down the stretch to secure the No. 3 seed.
The other MVP finalists are Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid and Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry. Official voting results have not yet been released by the NBA.
--Field Level Media