Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets made history Monday night by advancing to their first NBA Finals in franchise history. Jokic was terrific again as he passed Wilt Chamberlain for most triple-doubles in postseason history recording his eighth. Jokic finished the game with 30 points, 14 rebounds, and 13 assists. Not to mention, the big man had some legendary plays such as hitting his signature “Sombor shuffle,” with time winding down in the face of Anthony Davis. However, Jokic surprised many NBA peers in his postgame presser by coming to the defense of a longtime rival.
Nikola Jokic Defends Joel Embiid Winning the MVP
Nikola Jokic Shows Respect to the 76ers Big Man
During Jokic’s postgame presser, the Serbian big man pushed back against any notion of him caring about the MVP award. On top of this, he also had high praise for his longtime rival, Joel Embiid, who won his first one this season.
“I don’t think about MVPs anymore,” The Joker said. “I mean, I think it’s — people are just mean in saying that Embiid shouldn’t have won it. I think he should have won it. I think he was playing, if you watch it, extremely, extremely tough basketball through whole season. He was really amazing in 82 games or how many games he played.”
While the fanbases of each of these centers have certainly had their fair share of fights and arguments, one can see there is a healthy level of respect between these two MVPs. As for Jokic, he has never been one of pride himself on personal accolades and has always had a team-first mentality. Now, he will be focused on the ultimate team goal for the next few weeks, bringing a championship to the Mile High city.
How the Two Compare to Each Other
Embiid and Jokic do have contrasting styles of play. Embiid is a more physical presence willing to play bully-ball and is a better rim protector. Jokic on the other hand can decimate his opponent’s morale with his crafty passing and is just as deadly of a scorer whether it is in the post, mid-range, or even from downtown. The MVP race came down to these two stars again and one can see why by looking at the numbers. Embiid won his second scoring title and averaged 33.1 points, 10.2 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and an effective field goal percentage of 57.3 percent. Jokic nearly averaged a triple-double with 24.5 points, 11.8 rebounds, 9.8 assists, and an effective field goal percentage of 66.0 percent. All in all, both of these players have a bright future and the league is in great hands.
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