LOS ANGELES: Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic was named the NBA’s Most Helpful Participant on Tuesday, finishing a exceptional rise to the top of basketball after coming into the league in 2014 as a lowly forty first draft choose.
The 6-feet-11-inch Serbian centre scooped the season MVP honours after a 2020/2021 marketing campaign that has seen him common a career-best 26.4 factors per recreation with 8.3 assists and 10.8 rebounds.
“Stat clever, you recognize, I believe this was my the most effective season of my life,” Jokic mentioned shortly after the award was introduced.
“Sort of the cherry on the highest might be the trophy — so I believe that is my the most effective season of my life.”
The 26-year-old Jokic is the bottom draft choose ever to win the MVP, and the primary participant in Denver historical past to take the accolade.
Dirk Nowitzki 🇩🇪Giannis Antetokounmpo 🇬🇷And now… Nikola Jokić 🇷🇸 https://t.co/XorZzyHgKr
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) 1623206700000
“To be sincere, I did not even consider being within the NBA once I began to play basketball again residence,” Jokic mentioned.
“It was taking part in Euro League, as a result of that was type of the closest high league to my nation…However then the Denver Nuggets drafted me it was a chance for me to turn out to be an NBA participant, and I believe I did a very good job of utilizing that chance.”
Jokic is the fifth worldwide participant to win the award after Hakeem Olajuwon (1994), Steve Nash (2005, 2006), Dirk Nowitzki (2007) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (2019, 2020).
Nikola Jokic is the primary #KiaMVP to play each common season recreation for his or her group since Kobe Bryant in 2007-08. 💜💛 https://t.co/3wYNCjv6Eh
— NBA Historical past (@NBAHistory) 1623200117000
Jokic beat out competitors from the Golden State Warriors’ Steph Curry and Philadelphia 76ers ace Joel Embiid who had been each finalists for the award.
Jokic was instrumental in guiding Denver into the second spherical of the playoffs this season, ending the common season 47-25 regardless of accidents to key personnel together with Jamal Murray, P.J. Dozier and Will Barton.
Nuggets coach Michael Malone earlier this yr praised Jokic for hitting the bottom working within the new marketing campaign regardless of a brief low season following final yr’s pandemic disruption.
“He stayed in nice form and he got here again able to go,” Malone mentioned. “He did not ease himself into the season.
“He got here again taking part in at a excessive degree, and he is achieved that for each recreation we have performed this yr.”
With Jokic’s #KiaMVP win this yr, two totally different internationally-born gamers have received in back-to-back years (Ante… https://t.co/om3BIyn350
— NBA.com/Stats (@nbastats) 1623202136000
Jokic agreed together with his coach’s evaluation.
“We had a extremely good season final yr and we had like two months relaxation. I began the season rather well and I performed type of the entire season rather well.”
Jokic started his profession taking part in in home Serbian competitions earlier than being picked by Denver with the forty first choose of the 2014 draft. He entered the NBA in 2015, a yr after being drafted.
Jokic, a three-time NBA All-Star, signed a five-year $148 million most contract in 2018.
At worldwide degree he was a member of the Serbia group that received a silver medal on the 2016 Olympic Video games in Rio de Janeiro.