Austin Reaves says Nikola Jokic should’ve won MVP last season, explains why Joel Embiid got it instead

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read

Los Angeles Lakers guard Austin Reaves believes that Denver Nuggets big man Nikola Jokic should have won his third straight league MVP during the 2022-23 season.

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid ended up winning the award, ending a two-season stretch of Jokic taking home the league’s most prestigious individual honor. Reaves explained what makes Jokic so great in today’s NBA.

“Jokic is one,” Reaves said of a player that impresses him. “He’s just so unfazed with everything you do. You can throw a million different coverages at him. His best thing about him is he’s so unselfish. He don’t care.”

Reaves was then asked if he thought the Nuggets big man should have won the MVP in the 2022-23 campaign.

“I personally thought he should’ve,” Reaves said when asked about if Jokic should have won the league’s MVP award last season.

The Lakers guard continued to praise Jokic while also giving Embiid his respect as well.

“The way that he plays is so unique for a big man,” Reaves said. “But obviously, Joel’s really good and dominates the game in just a different facet. It’s just Jokic – I think we were going back to the MVP – I think it was just voter’s fatigue.”

It’s not easy to win multiple MVP awards in a row, and voters might have felt a need to give Embiid, who led the league in scoring for a second straight season, his first MVP award. Both players were deserving, but Jokic showed in the playoffs just how valuable he can be.

He helped lead the Nuggets to an NBA title in the 2022-23 season, and he knocked Reaves and the Lakers out of the playoffs in the Western Conference Finals. The Nuggets swept Los Angeles in that series.

Even though he didn’t win the league’s MVP award in the regular season, Jokic captured his first NBA Finals MVP award in the 2022-23 season. During the regular season, the former second-round pick put up some insanely impressive numbers, averaging 24.5 points, 11.8 rebounds and 9.8 assists per game while shooting 63.2 percent from the field and 38.3 percent from beyond the arc.

Reaves clearly has a ton of respect for Jokic, and the Nuggets center is easily one of the best players in the NBA. He should keep Denver among the top contenders for a title in the 2023-24 season and beyond.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.