Is One of Our Star Players Up for The M.V.P Trophy

Is One of Our Star Players Up for The M.V.P Trophy

Jayden Bradley, Writer

 Did Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets become the prohibitive favorite to win the N.B.A  Most Valuable Player Award?

At the end of last season, he was by consensus a great player, but he still finished a distant ninth in the M.V.P. voting, behind the runaway winner, Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks, and the runner-up, LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers.

But with two weeks left in this regular season, N.B.A. silversmiths have practically started engraving his name on the Maurice Podoloff Trophy.

The place to look for the most straightforward signs of M.V.P. candidacy is the scoring list. Going into Monday night’s games, Jokic ranked 11th with 26.2 points per game. That’s an improvement of 6.3 points a game from last season.

It’s not hard to see the source of the improvement. Jokic is taking 14.6 shots from 2-point range, up by a bit more than three attempts compared with his average last season, and he is making about two of them. That’s 4 more points a game. He’s going to the line and converting one more time a game, so that’s about 1 more point.

One major improvement to his game has been his 3-point percentage. After five seasons shooting in the 30s, he has made 41.2 percent this season. He is still taking about three a game, so that accounts for the sixth point of his scoring increase.