NBA MVP Odds: Could Jokic Be Joining All-Time Company?

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Nikola Jokic’s MVP odds have reached , and the once intriguing NBA betting race appears to be cemented, barring injury or any other outlier. With what seems to be another prestigious accolade likely on the way, where does “Big Honey” sit in the all-time rankings?

Current NBA MVP odds — Jokic leads the pack

Nikola Jokic’s regular season dominance

Assuming he claims the award, Jokic will become the ninth person in NBA history to have won at least three MVPs. The Nuggets superstar would join Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Moses Malone, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, and LeBron James. That’s seven of the consensus top 10 of all time, along with the always underrated Malone, who easily breaches the top 20 at a minimum on most people’s lists.

Only Bird has matched Jokic’s career averages of 20 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists per game. Additionally, of the 73 players in NBA history who have averaged at least 20 points per game for their careers, Jokic leads them all in true shooting percentage and offensive rating (via StatMuse). 

Advanced stats make Jokic look even better. The metrics win shares per 48 minutes and PER stretch back to the 1952 season, so they capture every superstar except for George Mikan’s best years. Michael Jordan holds the crown for best career mark in both categories — correction, held the crown — as Jokic passed him in both metrics and currently sits on top of the all-time leaderboard.

Additionally, BPM is the advanced stat that correlates best with MVP voting. Jokic unsurprisingly possesses the best BPM in history, although it’s worth noting that the metric does not track earlier than the 1974 season (via Basketball Reference).

Jokic’s postseason production

One clear blemish on his resume when comparing it to the greats is the fact that he only has one championship. However, injuries provide context to the matter. Denver reached the 2020 Western Conference Finals behind an emerging Jokic and Jamal Murray pairing before falling to the eventual champions Los Angeles Lakers. During the following season, the Nuggets owned a sparkling 34-19 record and ranked fifth in net rating until Murray’s knee injury. As a result, Jokic lacked his co-star for the 2021 and 2022 playoffs. 

It’s also not unusual for legends to struggle through countless seasons before finally catching that elusive title. Jordan and James won their first championships in their age-27 seasons like Jokic, while Hakeem Olajuwon and Chamberlain did not prevail until being on the wrong side of 30. Essentially, Jokic’s postseason legacy thus far does not automatically exclude him from legend status, especially if he maintains performances close to last season.

Jokic averaged an astonishing 30 points, 13.5 rebounds, and 9.5 assists per game on dominant 64% true shooting during the 2023 playoffs. He became the first player ever to lead the postseason in total points, rebounds, and assists. Furthermore, that run came against Rudy Gobert, Anthony Davis, and Bam Adebayo, who are all historic defenders and currently rank top five in Defensive Player of the Year odds. Meanwhile, no other player owns career playoff averages of at least 27 points, 12 rebounds, and seven assists per game except for Jokic. As for postseason advanced stats, he sits first in PER, fourth in win shares per 48 minutes, and second in BPM.

Nikola Jokic’s current all-time ranking

According to most, Jokic is simultaneously one of the best playmakers and scorers ever — an exceedingly rare combination. He has joined LeBron James in the discussion for largest floor raiser. 

Based solely on peak form, he’s likely in the top 10 at a bare minimum and has a strong case for the top five. However, his overall resume still needs work to catch players such as Larry Bird and Shaquille O’Neal. Given the fact that Jokic just turned 29 and does not rely on athleticism to dominate, it’s possible that he secures the necessary accolades. 

Overall, taking everything into account, the following 12 players in chronological order still likely boast stronger resumes than Jokic:

Jerry West, Moses Malone, Kevin Durant, and Giannis Antetokounmpo reside near Jokic’s level, too. Therefore, to answer the question of where “Big Honey” ranks all-time — based on all the states, somewhere around 13th to 15th in NBA history. Should the Nuggets repeat as NBA Finals champs this season, then he could end up clearly passing those four along with Olajuwon to claim the 12th spot. With the NBA playoffs approaching, it’s yet another storyline to keep an eye on.