After Joel Embiid and LeBron James went down with injuries in recent weeks, Nikola Jokic, as well as James Harden and even Giannis Antetokounmpo, has started to get more attention for the MVP conversation. The Serbian big man and the Nets' point guard appear to be the frontrunners to take the award home this season and there are people already making the case for one of the other.
The latest name to chime in on this interesting debate is Alex English, a Denver Nuggets legend that is convinced the Joker should get his first MVP this season due to the importance of his contributions to the team. English said that Jokic's impact on the team is similar to the one LeBron had in Cleveland, where the team had a big chance to win with him on the court and zero when The King was out.
“I think (Jokic) has got a serious case,” English said of the Nuggets All-Star, via the Denver Post. “If they seriously look at him, the record’s been good, there’ve been times where he’s had to carry the team like LeBron (James) would’ve done, back in the day. Yeah, he’s got a legitimate shot.
“You take him out of the equation, the Nuggets are a good team. You keep in there, and they’ve got a chance to win the NBA championship.”
“I mean, I don’t claim the No.1 spot. I will let people determine and decide for themselves. But … (Jokic has) contributed a lot. And if they win a championship, that would be a lot more than what I could give this team.”
He also talked about Joel Embiid, who also competes with Jokic for the unofficial title of the best center in the league. For English, even though he's been good for the Sixers, Embiid hasn't had the same impact that Jokic has on the Nuggets.
“(Jokic) is the MVP,” English said. “Joel Embiid, you could say he had a good year. He’s been injured, he’s been out. I don’t think he’s had the impact on his team that Joker has with the Denver Nuggets.
“The only player that has that kind of stature, where he dictates whether his team loses or wins, is LeBron James. And he’s out, too.”
Just like English, coach Mike Malone made the case for Jokic, explaining that there hasn't been anybody better than him in the league this season. This conversation is getting more interesting as the days go by. Embiid is reportedly returning to the floor this Saturday and LeBron could miss three or more four weeks for the Los Angeles Lakers. Over that period, Jokic could strengthen his candidacy as the 2021 NBA Most Valuable Player.