MVP down to Nikola Jokic, Stephen Curry, Joel Embiid as NBA announces awards finalists

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Denver Nuggets center Nikola JokicPhiladelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid and Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry are the finalists for this year’s NBA Most Valuable Player award.

The top three vote-getters for each of the NBA’s major end-of-season awards — MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Sixth Man of the Year, Most Improved Player and Coach of the Year — were announced on TNT’s “Inside The NBA” ahead of the Washington Wizards and Indiana Pacers squaring off in the Eastern Conference’s eighth-place play-in game.

For Jokic, Embiid and Curry, winning the sport’s highest honor will be a history making endeavor. Jokic or Embiid winning would mark the first time a center had been named the NBA’s MVP since Shaquille O’Neal in 2000. Curry, meanwhile, would become one of nine players in NBA history to win at least three MVP awards, tying him with Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Moses Malone.

Jokic had one of the best offensive seasons in the history of the league, averaging 26.4 points, 10.8 rebounds and 8.3 assists while shooting 56.6% overall, 38.8% from 3-point range and 86.8% from the foul line. He garnered 90 of a possible 101 first-place votes in ESPN’s MVP straw poll last month, and is the heavy favorite to win the award.

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