Coming into this season, Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokić had won two MVPs in a row and had established himself among many as the best big man in basketball. And, he should have won a third in a row this year, but voters were duped by Joel Embiid.
Nikola Jokić certainly had the stats to back it up. He missed averaging a triple double by just .2 assists, and averaged 24.5 points and 11.8 rebounds a game. But, apparently voters got tired of voting for Nikola Jokić, and gave it to Sixers center Joel Embiid instead.
Embiid had a great season, winning the scoring title and averaging 33.2 points per game and 10.4 rebounds per game. But, he was awful in the playoffs for the Philadelphia 76ers, and was downright embarrassing in their game 7 loss to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Meanwhile, Nikola Jokić has been rolling through the playoffs with the Denver Nuggets. And, in Tuesday night’s game one of the Western Conference Finals, he was incredible. Look at this stat line!
BEST PLAYER IN THE WORLD pic.twitter.com/m3JbDDTuvS
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) May 17, 2023
The Nuggets needed all of those contributions, as the Lakers turned a game that was a blowout for most of it into a one-possession game with the ball in the final minute.
How good was Nikola Jokic? This good.
Nikola Jokic has a spectacular Game 1 as the @nuggets secure a 1-0 lead!
34 PTS (12-17 FG)
Game 2: Thursday, 8:30pm/et on ESPN pic.twitter.com/hK0GG8l5Db
— NBA (@NBA) May 17, 2023
His 30-point, 20-rebound, triple double was his second of his career. Both have come in these playoffs, and no one else has more than one in a career.
Nikola Jokić had 34 points, 21 rebounds and 14 assists in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. He now has two of the four playoff games in NBA history with at least 30 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists.
It’s his third straight triple-double and sixth of the 2023 postseason. pic.twitter.com/0U9IAtLGzU
— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) May 17, 2023
And, plenty on Twitter are calling Nikola Jokic the real MVP.
Jokic The Real MVP Bruh!!!!!
— Plies (@plies) May 17, 2023
Nikola Jokic in the first quarter:
The real MVP of the NBA… pic.twitter.com/LnkVVwuNMO
— Buttcrack Sports (@ButtCrackSports) May 17, 2023
Jokic is the real MVP.
— Pred (@Pred) May 17, 2023
THEY GAVE EMBIID THE MVP BECAUSE THEY FELT BAD FOR HIM
JOKIC IS PLAYING LIKE THE REAL MVP pic.twitter.com/GCLtVo0uJo
— Kiko Suarez (@imkikosuarez) May 17, 2023
Anthony Davis and LeBron James were fantastic for the Lakers. Game 2 is Wednesday night back in Denver.