Jokić becomes 13th player in NBA history to win back-to-back MVP Awards and first center to do so since Moses Malone in ’82-‘83
Denver, May 11, 2022 – It was announced today that Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokić has been named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player for the 2021-22 season as voted on by members of the media. It is the second straight season that Jokić has earned MVP honors, becoming the 13th player in NBA history to accomplish this and the first center to do so since Moses Malone in 1982-83.
Jokić, 27, capped off another historic campaign by becoming the first player in NBA history to average 25+ points, 13+ rebounds and 6+ assists for an entire season. He also became the first player in NBA history to record at least 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 500 assists in a single season. Jokić also earned his fourth consecutive All-Star nomination this season, his second straight year being named an All-Star starter. He was named Western Conference Player of the Month twice (Jan. and March/April) as well as Western Conference Player of the Week twice (Jan. 24 and Apr. 4).
“It’s been a true joy watching Nikola develop into one of the most special and unique players in NBA history,” said Governor E. Stanley Kroenke. “He is so deserving of this honor. In a season in which other extraordinary players also raised the bar to new heights, this award is freighted with still more weight and meaning. To emerge from the second-round of the draft to become a back-to-back NBA MVP is a testament to Nikola’s work ethic, character and dedication to the sport. He shows up every day trying to improve not only his game and himself but also that of his teammates and the entire organization. His journey is as remarkable as it is inspiring. We look forward to many more great seasons ahead with Nikola as our anchor and leader.”
“Nikola is an incredible player and an incredible person and we couldn’t be prouder to have him represent our organization,” stated President Josh Kroenke. “He is everything the MVP should be about, a truly selfless leader who makes everyone around him better and a tireless work ethic that has made him one of the best basketball players in the entire world. To earn this award in back-to-back years shows how special he is and we’re grateful to have him in a Nuggets uniform.”
Joker again averaged career-highs across the board with 27.1 points, 13.8 rebounds and 7.9 assists in 33.5 minutes per game. He shot a career-high from the field (.583) while adding a career-high 1.47 steals and a career-high .85 blocks per game. He registered NBA season highs with 19 triple-doubles and 66 double-doubles, passing Fat Lever for most triple-doubles in a single season by a Nugget and surpassing his own 60 double-doubles in 2020-21 for most in a season by a Nugget. He led the NBA in PER (Player Efficiency Rating), finished 1st in total rebounds (2nd in rpg), 5th in total points (6th in ppg), 6th in total assists (8th in apg), 10th in total steals (12th in spg), 8th in field goal percentage and 4th in true shooting percentage.
Jokić also led the league in Win Shares (15.2), Offensive Win Shares (10.8), Box Plus/Minus (13.7), Offensive Box Plus/Minus (9.2) and Value Over Replacement Player (9.8). Additionally, Joker led the Nuggets in total points, rebounds and assists for the fifth consecutive season, becoming the first player in NBA history to accomplish this feat (no one had done this in four straight seasons prior to Nikola last year).
“To watch Nikola develop into one of the few back-to-back MVPs this league has ever seen has been truly incredible,” said President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly. “it’s indicative of who Nikola is as a person and a basketball player - hard working, extremely motivated and dedicated to bettering himself and all of his teammates any way he can. We couldn’t be happier for Nikola and his entire family and support system; without them this day isn’t possible.”
“I don’t know what else you can say about Nikola at this point,” stated Head Coach Michael Malone. “He’s consistently improved his game, he’s consistently proven people wrong when they doubt him and he’s consistently the best player on the floor night in and night out. I’ve said it many times before, I’m extremely grateful to coach Nikola Jokić and just as grateful for the bond that we’ve built off the court in our seven years together.”
The Sombor, Serbia native was originally drafted by Denver with the 41st pick of the 2014 NBA Draft. Last season he became the lowest draft position to win the MVP (previous Nash & Antetokounmpo at 15th overall) and the first center to win MVP since Shaquille O’Neal in 2000. Jokić has appeared in 527 career games (486 starts) for the Nuggets and owns career averages of 19.7 points, 10.4 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 1.20 steals per game. He has also appeared in 48 playoff games (all starts) for Denver, averaging 26.4 points, 11.5 rebounds, 6.4 assists and 1.00 steals per game.