Denver Nuggets

Celebrating Nikola Jokic's MVP season

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Nikola Jokic (NBA Canada Illustrations)

It's official, Denver Nuggets centre Nikola Jokic is the 2020-21 Most Valuable Player of the Year

A finalist for the award alongside Stephen Curry and Joel Embiid, Jokic finished the season in the No. 1 spot in our MVP ladder, as well as many others. The three-time All-Star appeared in all 72 games for the Nuggets, averaging career-highs across the board of 26.4 points, 10.8 rebounds and 8.3 assists. He had the most efficient season of his career as well, shooting 56.6 percent from the field, 38.8 percent from 3-point range and 86.8 percent from the free-throw line.

Led by Jokic, the Nuggets finished the regular season with the third-best record in the Western Conference at 47-25.

Jokic made history, not only joining the exclusive club of international players to capture the trophy, he becomes the lowest-drafted player ever to earn the NBA's most prestigious individual award.

With that in mind, our NBA.com Staff takes a closer look at what makes Jokic this season's MVP.

The numbers behind Jokic's dominance

From his incredible efficiency scoring the ball to his historic playmaking, Scott Rafferty takes a closer look at the stats that define Jokic's dominant season.

"The Nuggets basically went from scoring at the best rate in the league (120.2) to one of the worst when Jokic sat, posting an offensive rating of 103.4. That would've ranked them 29th in the league, between the Cleveland Cavaliers (104.6) and Oklahoma City Thunder (102.8)."

Click here to read about the five stats behind Jokic's season.

The moments that make Jokic one-of-a-kind

Is Jokic the most unique MVP in MVP history? Kyle Irving details the parts of his game that make him one-of-a-kind.

"He's probably in the bottom percentile in the league in terms of speed, quickness and athleticism. His physique is far from the chiseled mold of the likes of former MVPs like Giannis Antetokounmpo or LeBron James. He himself once told ESPN's Rachel Nichols that he has the "worst-conditioned body in the NBA." His playful and light-hearted demeanour can be mistaken for the competitor that he truly is.

"And yet, the 26-year-old has solidified himself as one of the best players in the NBA today."

Click here to learn about Jokic's signature moves.

A closer look at Jokic's next-level vision

Scott Rafferty nerds out over six of Jokic's assists this season that will have you scratching your head.

"It's not just that Jokic can find the open man that makes him an elite passer. It's that he's among a small group of players - some of the others being LeBron James, Chris Paul and Luka Doncic - who consistently manipulate defences to create high percentage looks for their teammates."

Click here to watch Jokic's best assists of the season.

The best of the best

The best passer in the NBA right now is...? Seven members of our NBA.com Staff submitted their top five passers in the league in an attempt to find an answer.

Spoiler: Jokic made the list.

"At this point, we've come to know Jokic for doing things that are far from the norm."

Click here to see where Jokic landed in our top five and who else cracked the list.

Where Jokic has improved the most

He's not known for his defence, but Jokic has improved tremendously on that end of the court, as Carlan Gay explains.

"Narratives start and sometimes they never end. When it came to two-time MVP Stephen Curry, the early narrative was that he was a poor defender. It took a while for that narrative to be shaken off, and it still may rear its ugly head from time-to-time today. Jokic has some of the same narratives said about him defensively.

"It took Steph a couple of MVPs and three championships to silence some of that. Hopefully, it doesn't take Nikola Jokic that long to do the same."

Click here to read about how Jokic's defensive improvements contributed to his MVP season.

The plays behind Jokic's magic

In our "One Play" series, we break down notable possessions from certain games and peel back the curtain to reveal their larger meaning.

Click here to learn how one sequence shines a light on Jokic's incredible basketball IQ.

Click here to learn how Jokic keeps leveling up as a passer.

Click here to learn about why you don't want Jokic getting the ball at the elbow.

Click here to learn about how Jokic manipulates defenses in real time.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.

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