With only a handful of games left in the 2021 NBA regular season, Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokić looks like the runaway favorite for most valuable player.
In league history, only Russell Westbrook (2016-17) has achieved Jokic’s current per game minimums of 26 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists. Having started all 66 of Denver’s games, he’s at the heart of every machination for a Nuggets team that has battled through myriad injuries to sit top four in the West and top six in both offensive and net rating.
But Fox Sports 1’s Nick Wright sees matters differently. Tangential to arguing Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul’s MVP case in a recent segment on First Things First, Wright said of Jokić that: “historically speaking, he would be the worst one (MVP) we’ve had in 35 years.”
Bulls center Nikola Vučević had strong words for that take:
Ties between Vučević and Jokic span beyond their shared first name. Though Jokić is playing on an all-time level, both are somewhat revolutionary centers with exceptional outside shooting and passing ability. Vučević came to the Bulls in a trade orchestrated by executive vice president Artūras Karnišovas, who is widely credited with identifying Jokić, a second-round pick in 2014, while working in the Nuggets front office.
And now: Let it be known that no Jokić slander will be tolerated in Vučević’s earshot.