Cleveland Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell recently spoke about the MVP race, and he had a lot of good things to say about star center Nikola Jokic.
Donovan Mitchell on Nikola Jokic for MVP: “I don’t know if you’ve all been watching what Jokic’s been doing. It’s f****** outrageous, to be honest. I don’t know how many people have won it 3 times in a row, but he’s other worldly right now.”
He also highly praised Joel Embiid. pic.twitter.com/XsbpRjCXNH
— Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) February 18, 2023
It’s hard not to agree with Mitchell about his fellow All-Star Game starter. Jokic has been a beast in various ways in the 2022-23 campaign.
In terms of basic stats, the Denver Nuggets big man has continued to post stellar numbers. He is averaging 24.7 points, 11.5 rebounds and 10.1 assists per game while leading the league in triple-doubles with 21 this season.
His efficiency has also been off the charts, as the Serbia native is shooting an outrageous 63.2 percent from the field. While he is doing a good chunk of his scoring damage in and around the paint, Jokic has also been able to keep defenses honest because of his 39.1 percent shooting clip from beyond the arc.
For those who prefer to look at advanced stats to evaluate the MVP candidacy of players, the former second-round pick has also left a mark in that regard. He currently leads all players in PER, win shares and FiveThirtyEight’s RAPTOR, a recently introduced advanced metric that measures a player’s impact.
In addition, the 6-foot-11 hooper is clearly not posting empty stats because the Nuggets are comfortably pacing the West with a 41-18 standing, five games ahead of the second-place Memphis Grizzlies. The way the big man and his teammates are playing has a lot of folks high on the squad’s chances of coming out on top of the conference, which would boost Jokic’s case for taking home MVP honors this campaign.
If he were to win the MVP trophy for a third consecutive year, it would further cement his legacy in the sport because the last player to earn the award three straight times was Larry Bird.
While Jokic is on track to be named this season’s MVP, Mitchell also deserves recognition for the work he has done in Cleveland.
The Cavs are fighting for a top seed in the Eastern Conference, thanks in large part to the shooting guard’s contributions of 27.3 points, 4.1 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 3.6 3-pointers per game. The league seems to have recognized Mitchell’s impact as he is set to start in the All-Star Game on Sunday for the first time.