How Nikola Jokic Became the Favorite for the N.B.A. M.V.P. Award

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How did Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets become the prohibitive favorite to win the N.B.A. Most Valuable Player Award?

At the end of last season, he was by consensus a great player, but he still finished a distant ninth in the M.V.P. voting, behind the runaway winner, Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks, and the runner-up, LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers.

But with two weeks left in this regular season, N.B.A. silversmiths have practically started engraving his name on the Maurice Podoloff Trophy.

The place to look for the most straightforward signs of M.V.P. candidacy is the scoring list. Going into Monday night’s games, Jokic ranked 11th with 26.2 points per game. That’s an improvement of 6.3 points a game from last season.

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