Nikola Jokic does not care about all the pressure upon him on entering the 2021-22 season as the reigning league MVP. The Serbian was terrific for the Denver Nuggets last season and led the team into the second round of the playoffs. Despite missing the services of star guard Jamal Murray, the Nuggets offense looked in great flow, courtesy of the Joker's brilliant passing.
He averaged 26.4 PPG, 10.8 RPG and 8.3 APG while shooting 56.6 % from the field. The Serbian star faced some tough competition from Joel Embiid and Steph Curry for the honors. However, Jokic's splendid performance in all 72 games of the shortened season helped him win the title, thereby making him the first second-round pick to win the MVP honors.
When asked in a media press conference if he would be pressured entering the new season as the league MVP, Nikola Jokic said:
"Brother, I couldn't care less, for real"
This year, once again, the Nuggets will need Jokic to deliver a huge individual season. Jamal Murray is all set to miss out on pretty much the whole of the regular season. In his absence, it will be the Joker and Michael Porter Jr. who will have the responsibility of carrying the team into the playoffs.
Can Nikola Jokic lead the Denver Nuggets to another deep run into the playoffs?
Nikola Jokic is highly regarded as one of the best passing centers in the NBA. His terrific dimes during games are a regular feature in highlight reels. During the 2020-21 season, he looked at his best and operated things extremely smoothly for the Nuggets.
Entering the postseason, there were doubts over whether the Nuggets could do well without Jamal Murray. But Nikola Jokic proved all of that wrong as he registered impressive numbers to guide the team past the first round against the Portland Trail Blazers.
In the second-round series against the Phoenix Suns, however, the Nuggets were outmatched. Devin Booker and Chris Paul's brilliance in the series meant the Nuggets would lose out in a 4-0 sweep to the Suns. To put his impressive 2020-21 playoffs into numbers, Jokic averaged 29.8 PPG, 11.6 RPG and 5.0 APG on 50.9% shooting from the field.
Entering the 2021-22 season, the Nuggets are facing some major concerns. The team lost 4 of their preseason games and looked short of their best. Coach Michael Malone has been very critical of the team's performance. Speaking to Mike Singer of the Denver Post, Coach Malone said:
"We have a very, very, very, very quiet group. We spend more time bitching and complaining to the officials, where no one has a problem talking, but we can’t get ourselves organized, we can’t get ourselves into an offense.”
The season ahead is not going to be easy for the Nuggets. However, with the likes of Nikola Jokic and Michael Porter Jr. on the roster, Denver still looks like a good team. If the team stays healthy and Jamal Murray makes a comeback before the postseason, the Nuggets certainly stand a chance of making another deep run in the playoffs