Former Nuggets guard says Nikola Jokic didn’t want to win MVP last season after he started receiving lots of attention

Brad Sullivan
3 Min Read
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

A former teammate of Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic offered the opinion that the superstar wasn’t eager to win the NBA’s MVP award last season after his play got plenty of attention.

On the “Club 520” podcast, Gary Harris spoke (at the 1:55 mark) about Jokic’s humility and his focus on simply playing the game.

Harris played with Jokic from 2015 until March 2021, when Harris was traded to the Orlando Magic. That extended period gave Harris a chance to see Jokic up-close on a regular basis.

Last season, Jokic finished runner-up to Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid in the MVP race. That came after Jokic had won the previous two league MVP awards.

Despite missing out on the award, Jokic ended up winning Finals MVP as the Nuggets captured the franchise’s first NBA championship.

The 28-year-old Jokic was originally taken by the Nuggets in the second round of the 2014 NBA Draft, the 41st player selected overall.

Despite those humble beginnings, Jokic has developed into an all-around force on the court. In five of his eight NBA seasons, Jokic has averaged a double-double over the entire campaign.

This past season, Jokic made a strong bid for his third straight MVP award by narrowly missing out on a triple-double average for the year. In his 69 games, he averaged 24.5 points, 11.8 rebounds and 9.8 assists per contest.

Over the course of his time in the NBA, Jokic has also displayed a knack for hitting shots from beyond the arc, connecting on 38.3 percent of his 3-point attempts during the 2022-23 season.

In addition, Jokic has provided the Nuggets with solid defense, collecting an average of 1.2 steals per game during his eight NBA seasons.

Based on his impressive body of work, Jokic is clearly playing at peak level and is being compensated nicely by the Nuggets. Last year, he signed a huge five-year contract extension.

That deal should keep Jokic in a Nuggets uniform through the 2027-28 NBA season. Technically, Jokic could leave after the 2026-27 campaign, though his player option in that final year is scheduled to pay him $62.8 million for a single season.

Jokic will be 33 in 2028, an age that hasn’t proven to be a roadblock for some of the league’s most dedicated players.

Based on his happiness with his current situation and his massive annual paycheck, Jokic seems destined to finish his career the way it began — with the Nuggets. It’s likely that his only current goal for the upcoming season is winning another title for the franchise.

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Brad has written on a variety of both NBA and NFL topics and has worked previously as a sports information director at the collegiate level. A lifetime fan of sports, he's witnessed countless great moments in different sports and understands that stories can be compelling from both the perspective of winners and losers. As a frustrated fan of Cleveland sports, he experienced something unprecedented when the Cavaliers won the city's first championship in 52 years.