Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic is probably tired of hearing about the 2023 NBA MVP race.
Once a simple debate about who was more impactful on the court, the discourse from ESPN analysts Kendrick Perkins and JJ Redick provided it with racial undertones, with Perkins wondering whether or not European players have a lower standard to be considered great and Redick taking offense to the idea of a Euro prospect having a lower bar to meet.
A discussion that at least deserved more nuance than the diatribe of Perkins and Redick, Jokic and the Nuggets quickly became disenchanted with the idea of him winning his third consecutive NBA MVP award.
Interestingly enough though, when the NBA Award ballots came out, what was surprising wasn’t that Jokic found himself bested by Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid for the 2023 NBA MVP award. It’s that out of 100 voters, one individual left Jokic off the ballot entirely.
It’s since been revealed by ClutchPoints insider Brett Siegel that the voter in question is none other than ESPN play-by-play broadcaster Mark Jackson, a former NBA star and coach.
Jackson, per Siegal, had the following players on his ballot:
1. Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers)
2. Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks)
3. Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics)
4. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Oklahoma City Thunder)
5. Donovan Mitchell (Cleveland Cavaliers)
With the exception of Mitchell, each of the players receiving a vote for Jackson for the 2023 NBA MVP award averaged at least 30 points per game. Mitchell, who averaged 28.3 points per game, finished the 2022-23 season with 31 games scoring at least 30 points while helping a young Cleveland Cavaliers have their first 50-win season of the post-LeBron era.
Nonetheless, given the mastery with which Jokic plays on the offensive end, Jackson can expect plenty of pushback.
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