REIGNING Most Valuable Player (MVP) Nikola Jokić of the Denver Nuggets is one of three finalists for this year’s award, the National Basketball Association (NBA) announced on Sunday.
The other finalists are Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid and Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Jokić averaged 27.1 points, 13.8 rebounds and 7.9 assists in 74 games this season. The Denver center’s performance is even more noteworthy when considering star guard Jamal Murray (ACL) missed the entire season and forward Michael Porter, Jr. (back) sat out the final five months.
Embiid led the NBA in scoring at 30.6 ppg and averaged 11.7 rebounds while playing 68 games. Antetokounmpo, a two-time MVP, averaged 29.9 points and 11.6 rebounds in 67 games.
The NBA also announced finalists in five other categories:
Coach of the Year: Taylor Jenkins (Memphis Grizzlies), Erik Spoelstra (Miami Heat), Monty Williams (Phoenix Suns)
Defensive Player of the Year: Mikal Bridges (Phoenix Suns), Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz), Marcus Smart (Boston Celtics)
Rookie of the Year: Scottie Barnes (Toronto Raptors), Cade Cunningham (Detroit Pistons), Evan Mobley (Cleveland Cavaliers)
Sixth Man of the Year: Tyler Herro (Miami Heat), Cam Johnson (Phoenix Suns), Kevin Love (Cleveland Cavaliers)
Most Improved Player: Darius Garland (Cleveland Cavaliers), Ja Morant (Memphis Grizzlies), Dejounte Murray (San Antonio Spurs) — Reuters