Breaking down why Nikola Jokic, the emerging face of the league, should win NBA MVP

The regular season has come to an end, which means the MVP race is finally complete. The question is, who should take home the hardware this year?
Denver Nuggets v Utah Jazz
Denver Nuggets v Utah Jazz / Alex Goodlett/GettyImages
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3. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City Thunder

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had a breakout season last year, but apparently, that wasn’t enough as he became an absolute superstar this season.

SGA put together a terrific two-way campaign, averaging around 30 points, six rebounds, six assists, and two steals per game on 63.6% true shooting and his production was exceptional in pretty much every area.

Two areas where he shined the most were as a scorer and shooter. SGA was one of the best scorers in the league this season and he joined Luka as one of the only four players to score 30 points a game on 60% true shooting. One thing that makes him such an incredible scorer is his ability to operate in the mid-range. He attempted 9.6 mid-range shots per 75 possessions and he hit a ludicrous 50.7% of these shots.

That level of mid-range shooting is insane, especially when paired with his ability to attack the basket. He is a very good rim finisher and he generates 7.2 rim attempts per 75 possessions while shooting 66.6% at the basket.

Unlike most star guards, he didn’t take a ton of threes but he could hit them when he did as he shot 35.3% from behind the arc on 3.6 attempts per game. He didn’t have as good of an all-around scoring profile as Luka Doncic, but he was still a good three-level scorer who destroyed opposing defenses when he got inside the arc.

On top of being a great scorer, SGA is also a good passer. His ability to create shots for his teammates is exceptional and he was quite productive as a passer this season, sporting an assist rate of 29.8% and a ludicrous playmaking profile in terms of volume, efficiency, and versatility.

In my opinion, SGA was not as good offensively as Jokic or Luka, but he makes up for this by being a very active and impactful defender. He led the league in total steals this season and his aggressiveness as an off-ball defender is obvious when you watch him play. 

Also, his defensive impact metrics were very strong, especially for a guard who plays a ton of minutes and carries such a big offensive load. I think this is because he was productive in a ton of areas, putting up great numbers in isolation, against pick and rolls, and against handoffs.

I really hope people don’t sleep on Shai Gilgeous-Alexander because he is a fantastic player who is good on both ends of the floor and just had a phenomenal season in which he led a young and inexperienced Thunder team to 57 wins and the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. If he were to win the MVP award, I would not complain whatsoever.