Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic wins NBA MVP, Suns’ Kevin Durant finishes 9th in voting

May 8, 2024, 5:09 PM

Nikola Jokic...

Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets is guarded by Kevin Durant #35 of the Phoenix Suns during the first quarter at Ball Arena on March 27, 2024 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Nikola Jokic, the Denver Nuggets star from Serbia, was announced Wednesday night as the NBA’s Most Valuable Player — his third time winning the award in the past four seasons, a feat that just six other players in league history have accomplished.

He averaged 26.4 points, 12.4 rebounds and 9.0 assists. Others averaged more in each category, but h was the only player to rank in the NBA’s top 10 in points, rebounds and assists per game this season.

Jokic got 79 of a possible 99 first-place votes from the panel of reporters and broadcasters who cast ballots on awards when the regular season ended.

Oklahoma City’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was second and Dallas’ Luka Doncic was third, both getting into the top three of MVP voting for the first time. With Jokic from Serbia, Gilgeous-Alexander from Canada and Doncic from Slovenia, it marked the third consecutive season that three players born outside the U.S. finished 1-2-3 in the MVP balloting.

This time, the foreign dominance atop the NBA was even more pronounced: Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is from Greece, was fourth — so this became the first time in the award’s 69-year history that international players went 1-2-3-4 in the voting. It also became the sixth consecutive year that a player born outside the U.S. won the award.

New York’s Jalen Brunson was fifth. Phoenix Suns All-Star forward Kevin Durant received one fifth place vote for MVP to finish ninth in the race.

Jokic is now the ninth player to win the MVP award at least three times. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar won it six times, Bill Russell and Michael Jordan each won five, Wilt Chamberlain and LeBron James won four, and Moses Malone, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson are the other three-time winners.

“It’s got to start with your teammates,” Jokic said on TNT, where the award was announced. “Without them, I’m nothing. Without them, I cannot do nothing. Coaches, players, organization, medical staff, development coaches … I cannot be whoever I am without them.”

Doncic made a case for the MVP award by posting the first season in NBA history in which a player averaged 34 points, nine rebounds and nine assists per game. There had been 14 instances before this year in which a player averaged that many points and rebounds in a season — of those, five had resulted in MVP wins, including last season when Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid averaged 33 points and 10 rebounds.

The 35-year-old Durant continued to defy age with another stellar season, averaging more than 27 points per game and playing in 75 of 82 games.

Durant was fifth in points per game with 27.1 and minutes per game with 37.2. He started the All-Star Game in his first full season with the Suns.

Durant and Devin Booker are among the 12 players who will represent the U.S. in the Paris Olympics this summer.

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Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic wins NBA MVP, Suns’ Kevin Durant finishes 9th in voting