If you aren’t paying attention to Nikola Jokic this season, you’re making a big mistake.
The reigning MVP continues his somehow under-the-radar charge for the award in 2021-22, posting absurd line after absurd line for the Nuggets.
Against the Clippers on Sunday, Jokic tallied 26 points, 22 rebounds, eight assists, two steals and two blocks, leading the Nuggets to a 103-100 win.
The performance marked his second consecutive 20-point, 20-rebound game after he put up 29 points and 21 rebounds against the Hornets nights earlier. The back-to-back efforts also marked the first consecutive 20-20 games in almost two years, with Andre Drummond being the last player to do so in January 2020.
Overall, it was Jokic’s sixth 20-20 game of his career, taking him by Marcus Camby for the franchise record.
Naturally, Denver’s overall 16-16 record dampens his MVP case, but at what point do we acknowledge the injury toll Jokic is attempting to carry his team through? While almost every roster in the league is dealing with the impacts of health and safety protocols, the Nuggets have Jamal Murray (knee), Michael Porter Jr. (back), P.J. Dozier (knee) and Aaron Gordon (hamstring) currently on the shelf.
Despite the key personnel losses, Jokic is still on track to record the highest PER in history.
After 27 games, Nikola Jokic is still having the greatest PER season of all time.
32.7 — Jokic in 2021-22
32.1 — Wilt in 1961-62
31.9 — Giannis in 2019-20 pic.twitter.com/OXvMjX6vkq
— StatMuse (@statmuse) December 27, 2021
Overall, Jokic is averaging 25.9 points, 13.8 rebounds and 7.2 assists per game, with all three ranking in the top-15 league-wide.
With his minutes taking a slight dip this season, the numbers are still right on par with 2020-21, with his per 36-minute averages rising in scoring, rebounds, steals and blocks, while his true shooting percentage of 64.7 percent is exactly the same.
It might be difficult to envision Jokic carrying the depleted Nuggets to an NBA championship this season, but the individual brilliance of his campaign should not be overlooked.
Right now, he’s walking alongside Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Stephen Curry in the MVP discussion.