NBA legend Tracy McGrady thinks Denver Nuggets superstar Nikola Jokic is this season’s MVP by a landslide.
The Hall of Famer argued that the race “ain’t close” and pointed to Denver’s overall success as one reason why Jokic deserves the award.
“It ain’t close,” McGrady said. “It ain’t close. It’s that boy in Denver. That boy in Denver is cold, man. He’s a bad dude, a bad dude, you know what I’m saying? And for him to have his team in first place and the way he’s balling, you gotta go with him, bro.”
Jokic is looking to take home the MVP award for a third consecutive season. If he were to do so, he’d join elite company, as only three other players in NBA history have won the award three years in a row. Those players are Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell and Larry Bird.
The five-time All-Star is far from the flashiest player in the NBA, but he’s certainly one of the most productive. He’s establishing himself as one of the most efficient players in league history, consistently having huge performances while needing relatively little usage to do so.
This season, Jokic is averaging 24.4 points, 11.8 rebounds and 10.0 assists per game while maintaining wild shooting clips of 63.4 percent from the field and 40.4 percent from deep. His usage percentage is just 26.9. For reference, that wasn’t even the highest usage rate among Nuggets players this season until Bones Hyland was traded from the team.
Hyland led the Nuggets in usage percentage at 28.4 before the trade.
Other MVP candidates like Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo have usage rates that are significantly higher than Jokic’s. Embiid is at 37.2 percent, and Antetokounmpo is at 38.9 percent.
Jokic’s ability to produce at such a high level with such little usage certainly helps his MVP case. He also leads the NBA in numerous advanced statistics and has the Nuggets at 46-19 this season. They’re in great shape to earn the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference heading into the playoffs.
If the 28-year-old earns yet another MVP award this season, his overall resume is going to become among the best in NBA history. A championship ring would definitely be a nice addition to that resume, and Jokic will look to check that box this season.