Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic seems well on his way to a third straight MVP award, and former Los Angeles Lakers player Nick Young apparently feels there is a double standard when it comes to how people regard Jokic compared to how they treated former MVP guard Russell Westbrook.
Before Jokic was averaging a triple-double this season, Westbrook was a triple-double machine. In fact, he’s had four separate seasons in which he’s averaged a triple-double. Though he received incredible praise — and an MVP award — the first time around, he was also accused of padding his stats.
Young doesn’t like how Westbrook was often criticized for his triple-double efforts while Jokic is being praised for accomplishing the same thing.
Why when Russ was avg a triple double 3 straight yrs it was a problem he stat padding but joker do it he can win his 3 rd MVP they do the same stuff every yr have great stats great regular season and get they ass whoop in the playoffs but no criticism
— Nick Young (@NickSwagyPYoung) February 21, 2023
At the moment, Jokic is putting up 24.7 points, 11.5 rebounds and 10.1 assists per game. Beyond that, the Nuggets are currently sitting at the No. 1 seed in the highly competitive Western Conference and own a five-game lead for the top spot.
Six games separate the No. 2 seed from the No. 8 seed, a strong indication of just how dominant the Nuggets have been this season.
As for Westbrook, he was traded away from the Lakers prior to the deadline earlier this month and will reportedly be joining the Los Angeles Clippers.
Given all that information, Young’s message seems to fall a bit flat. Sure, if the Nuggets were struggling despite Jokic’s Herculean efforts, Young’s message would hold a bit more strength, but the MVP award is often seen as an award given to the best player on the best team, and a real argument can be made that Jokic is just that this season.
Now, once the playoffs begin, Young’s argument may carry more weight. The Nuggets have advanced to the playoffs in each of the last four seasons. They advanced to the Western Conference Finals in 2020 in the Orlando, Fla. NBA bubble, but have failed to get past the second round since.
Their most recent appearance in the second round ended in a 4-0 sweep at the hands of the Phoenix Suns.
Last season, the Nuggets lost 4-1 to the eventual champion Golden State Warriors in the first round of the playoffs. It was a frustrating series for Nuggets fans, as multiple key players were out of the lineup due to injury.
This season, the hope is that improved health across the roster will lead to greater success in the playoffs. Michael Porter Jr. has played 42 games so far and seems to be in good health, and Jamal Murray has looked solid in his first season back from an ACL injury.
Surely, the Nuggets are wishing that Jokic’s incredible versatility and the rest of the talent on the roster will lead to a championship in Denver. It would be the first championship in the history of the franchise.