Blocked shot to beat Warriors adds to Jokic MVP case

Three Things is NBC’s five-days-a-week wrap-up of the night before in the NBA. Check out NBCSports.com every weekday morning to catch up on what you missed the night before plus the rumors, drama, and dunks going that make the NBA great.

1) Jokic making serious MVP case, blocked shot to beat Warriors adds to it

Nikola Jokic is playing better than his MVP season.

You can see it when you watch the Nuggets play — he is in control of everything right now, being the kind of floor general we usually associate with great point guards. He is the hub of the Nuggets’ offense and he will not be rushed into a decision, which you can see in his passing. Of late, he is tearing up the league.

His defense also has improved, something the Warriors learned the hard way Tuesday when Jokic got back in transition and blocked a driving Jonathan Kuminga shot attempt to preserve the Nuggets win over the Warriors.

Add it to Jokic’s MVP case — which is a strong one.

Jokic is averaging 25.8 points a game, a career-high 14 rebounds a night, plus is dishing out 7.1 assists a game — and he is doing it all efficiently. His 63.2 true shooting percentage is the highest of any of the top 10 scorers in the league. His advanced stats (VORP, Win Shares, estimated +/-, whatever you want to use) are in line with or better last season when he won MVP. Jokic’s PER of 32.3 this season would set an all-time record, besting anything Jordan or Chamberlain posted. Plus, his twerking is unparalleled in the league.

The best stat for Jokic’s case: The Nuggets outscore opponents by 9.7 points per 100 possessions when he is on the court and get outscored by 13.9 when he sits — the Nuggets are +23.6 when he plays. That is the definition of value.

The argument against Jokic: The Nuggets are 17-16. Basically a .500 team. Players who take home the award tend to come from the top three teams in their conference.

A recent straw poll by ESPN found Stephen Curry a clear frontrunner for the MVP award. When we at NBC pick our mid-season awards in a few weeks, I might have Curry on top of my MVP list. For my money, four players have separated themselves from…

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