Nuggets head coach Malone believes ‘ugly, nasty’ MVP conversation has turned off Nikola Jokic

“I think this year unfortunately has just taken a really ugly, nasty turn in the MVP conversation, and I think it’s really turned a lot of people off, including him,” Michael Malone said of Nikola Jokic. “And what’s happening now is there’s so many guys that could win the MVP this year — great candidates. Joel Embiid is a great candidate. Luka Doncic is a great candidate. Jayson Tatum — whoever you want to put in that mix, those are all deserving. But what happens in today’s society is that everybody — it’s like when I was a college coach — all the negative recruiting, it’s not promoting my guy, it’s ripping down every other guy. And that’s just ridiculous.”
Source: Jason Simpson @

What’s the buzz on Twitter?

Nuggets’ Michael Malone says Nikola Jokic has been turned off by ‘ugly, nasty’ MVP debate…4:27 PM
Adam Mares @Adam_Mares
Does Nikola Jokic have more to gain (and lose) in the playoffs than anybody in the NBA?
Let’s discuss on today’s @DNVR_Nuggets podcast.…4:05 PM
Harrison Wind @HarrisonWind
Going live for today’s show
Does Nikola Jokic have the most at stake heading into this year’s NBA Playoffs?…3:57 PM
Sam Quinn @SamQuinnCBS
First time I forgot Ant. Second time I forget Randle. This was all off the top of my head. Forgive me lol. All-NBA, take 3
G: Luka
F: Tatum
F: Giannis (MVP)
C: Embiid
G: Curry
G: Mitchell
F: Kawhi
F: Butler
C: Jokic
G: Fox
G: Ant
F: Markkanen
F: Julius Randle
C: Sabonis – 2:27 PM
Anthony Chiang @Anthony_Chiang
Jimmy Butler says Playoff Jimmy isn’t a thing, but it’s a thing and he has arrived early this season. Butler is in the middle of an outrageous 15-game stretch that only Nikola Jokic has replicated before…2:03 PM
Harrison Wind @HarrisonWind
Nuggets had a 107.7 DRtg with Nikola Jokic on the court last night. Jokic had 3 steals — all led to points on Denver’s ensuing possession. He’s tied with Bam Adebayo for most steals among centers (82). He has the 6th-most deflections in the NBA and 53 more than the next center. PM
Sam Amick @sam_amick
ICYMI, your MVP race viewers – and voters – guide, at @TheAthletic
Numbers, nuance, and narrative all in one place as we debate Embiid v. Jokic v. Giannis
($1/month for 12 months right now for new subscribers through web browsers)…12:48 PM
StatMuse @statmuse
The last time LeBron and KD played against each other…
— Harden averaged 36 PPG
— Jokic had 0 MVPs
— Blake Griffin was top 10 in PTS
— Kyrie was a Celtic
— AD was a Pelican
— Ben Simmons was an All-Star AM
Anthony Chiang @Anthony_Chiang
NEW: Jimmy Butler says Playoff Jimmy isn’t a thing, but it’s a thing and he has arrived early this season. Butler is in the middle of an outrageous 15-game stretch that only Nikola Jokic has replicated before…11:45 AM
Wayne Cole @waynec0le
ON JOKIC. 😳 – 11:18 AM
Justin Kubatko @jkubatko
Nikola Jokic last night:
31 PTS
12 REB
12-16 FG
He’s scored at least 20 points on 60% shooting from the field in six straight games, matching the longest such streak in @nuggets history (which was already held by Jokic).
Read:…9:31 AM
Nate Duncan @NateDuncanNBA
New Dunc’d On Prime: We definitively settle the Jokic vs Embiid debate for all time in our Center Rankings. Join @dannyleroux and me duncdon.supportingcast.fm3:23 AM
Michael Singer @msinger
Nikola Jokic ended the night by greeting a giant group of Serbian fans in D.C. There were also a number of Serbian/Montenegrin diplomats to greet him as well. And a ton of security. AM
Harrison Wind @HarrisonWind
Since January 1st, Austin Reaves is averaging more free-throw attempts per game than Nikola Jokic.
Reaves: 5.5
Jokic: 5.2 – 12:21 AM
Ava Wallace @avarwallace
Final: Denver 118, Wizards 104 without Beal and Kuzma.
Porzingis: 25p
Avdija: 16p 8r 6a
Goodwin: 12p 4r
Jokic: 31p 12r 7a
Porter: 21p 7r
Nuggets had 15 three’s to Washington’s 4. – 9:19 PM
Vinny Benedetto @VBenedetto
Final: Nuggets 118, Wizards 104. Denver finishes the road trip 3-2.
Jokic finishes with 31-12-7-3. MPJ adds 21-7-2-2. Murray scores 17. Brown (14) and Green (11) in double figures off the bench.
Porzingis with 25 for Washington.
Big one against the Bucks on Saturday in Denver. – 9:17 PM
Ryan Blackburn @NBABlackburn
Final Rotations for the Nuggets as they defeat the Wizards 118-104:
-Joker: 31-12-7-3, 12/16 FG, 2/3 3P, 5/5 FT
-Murray: 17-6-8, 2 TOVs, efficient night
-MPJ: 21-7-2-2, 6/9 3P
Nuggets improve to 49-24, Magic Number for 1st seed is down to 6. PM
StatMuse @statmuse
Jokic tonight:
31 PTS
12 REB
12-16 FG
Passes Luka for the most 30/10/5 games this season. PM
Vinny Benedetto @VBenedetto
Denver’s lead is back up to 20 if MPJ completes a three-point play with 3:39 left. Joker with 31-11-7 after a strong stretch. – 9:08 PM
Neil Dalal @NeilDalal96
Deni Avdija getting the defensive matchup against fellow Serbian Nikola Jokic in the fourth quarter and holding up fairly well – 9:04 PM
Vinny Benedetto @VBenedetto
So that was a 39-16 quarter for the Nuggets. Denver up 21 to start the fourth. Jokic up to 27-8-4-3. MPJ with 18 and 5. Jeff Green with 11 points off the bench on six shots. Porzingis with 21 for Washington. – 8:45 PM
Josh Robbins @JoshuaBRobbins
The Wizards managed only 16 points in the third quarter. Entering the fourth quarter, Denver leads Washington 94-73. Nikola Jokic has 27 points, eight rebounds and four assists. – 8:44 PM
Harrison Wind @HarrisonWind
Great move from Michael Malone to ride pretty much this entire quarter out with Denver’s starters. Nuggets have built a 15-point lead, and it’s because Murray-KCP/Brown-MPJ-Gordon-Jokic turned it up a level. – 8:42 PM
Adam Mares @Adam_Mares
Malone stuck with Murray, Porter, Jokic for 11 minutes to open the half and the Nuggets have opened a 16 point lead. – 8:41 PM
Adam Mares @Adam_Mares
I like that new Jokic euro-stomp shot fake. He’s gone to it a handful of times lately and it’s worked every time. – 8:33 PM
Ryan Blackburn @NBABlackburn
Three-pointers from each of Murray, Joker, and MPJ to get the second half started. That’s the ticket. – 8:24 PM
Ryan Blackburn @NBABlackburn
Halftime rotations for the Nuggets as they trail the Wizards 57-55:
-Joker: 16-7-3, 7/9 FG, got doubled a lot
-Murray: 9-4-3, 2 turnovers on travels w/bench
-MPJ: 9 points on 10 shots, 3/4 3P tho
Pretty disappointing half from Aaron Gordon. Was the mark on defense in 2Q. PM
Chase Hughes @ChaseHughesNBCS
Great timing and instincts on display here as Deni Avdija finds Daniel Gafford with a lob over The Joker. PM
Vinny Benedetto @VBenedetto
Wizards lead 57-55 at the break. Porzingis scored 15 points on nine shots in 10 minutes. Deni Avdija adds 14 points on seven shots. Jokic leads the Nuggets with 16-7-3. – 8:07 PM
Josh Robbins @JoshuaBRobbins
Halftime: Wizards 57, Nuggets 55
Avdija: 14 pts., 6 rebs., 4 assts.
Porziņģis: 15 pts., 1 asst.
Jokic: 16 pts., 7 rebs., 3 assts.
FG%: Wizards 50%, Nuggets, 43%
Turnovers: Wizards 1, Nuggets 5 – 8:06 PM
Ava Wallace @avarwallace
At halftime, the Wizards are leading the Nuggets 57-55
Porzingis: 15p
Avdija: 14p 6r 4a
Jokic has 16p – 8:06 PM
Vinny Benedetto @VBenedetto
Nuggets lead 31-29 after one. Murray and Jokic lead the Nuggets with 9 points. Denver closed the quarter with Murray/Brown/Braun/Green/Nnaji. – 7:36 PM
Vinny Benedetto @VBenedetto
That was some pretty two-man game between Nikola Jokic and Christian Braun, leading to a Jokic layup. Nuggets up 29-23 with a couple of minutes left in the first. Jokic with 9. Jamal Murray with seven points.
Kristaps Porzingis getting whatever he wants off switches w/ 13 pts. – 7:31 PM
Ryan Blackburn @NBABlackburn
Love the delivery on that pass from Christian Braun. Rhythm and timing is great too, but the accuracy of the pass to Joker makes it easier for Joker to get the ball up on the move. – 7:29 PM
Adam Mares @Adam_Mares
That was a great read and pass from Christian Braun. Quick decisions, great find to Jokic for the dunk.*
*layup – 7:29 PM
Ryan Blackburn @NBABlackburn
AG got a great steal and then punted the ball out of bounds. Had Joker down the middle of the floor in transition. – 7:18 PM
Justin Kubatko @jkubatko
📅 On this day in 1967, the @sixers Wilt Chamberlain had 37 points, 27 rebounds, and 11 assists in a win over the Royals.
He’s one of three players to tally at least 30p/20r/10a in a playoff game:
— Chamberlain
— Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
— Nikola Jokic
More:…2:51 PM
Mike McGraw @McGrawDHSports
Feel people would be less worked up about NBA MVP if Embiid won last year. And he probably should have considering Nuggets finished 6th in West.
It’s not that Jokic isn’t deserving, more about him going up 3-0 on Embiid. Some players made their opinions clear at All-Star Game – 1:33 PM
Sam Amick @sam_amick
Included in this MVP piece…
* A refresh on Jokic-Embiid-Giannis numbers (notables section)
* Highlight what others are saying (Malone, Donovan, Draymond, Carlisle, B. Lopez, Middleton perspective)
* Set the stage for the home stretch (head-2-head!)…1:25 PM
KC Johnson @KCJHoop
Zach LaVine on Embiid’s MVP candidacy: “I think he shoulda won one already. I think Jokic has been incredible too. He’s won back-to-back, so you don’t take anything away from him. Obviously, Giannis is incredible. But I think Embiid has it wrapped up this year. He’s that good.” – 12:27 PM
Sam Amick @sam_amick
Had fun putting this one together, too…
Your unofficial MVP viewers – and voters – guide: Why this scribe is asking for help, at @TheAthletic
Jokic. Embiid. Giannis. Who you got, and why? The comments section opens now……12:09 PM
Sam Amick @sam_amick
Had fun putting this one together, too…
Your unofficial MVP viewer’s – and voter’s – guide: Why this scribe is asking for help, at @TheAthletic
Jokic. Embiid. Giannis. Who you got, and why? The comments section opens now……12:08 PM

More on this storyline

“This game — as Adam Silver told us at the All-Star break — the game is in a great spot. The league’s in a great spot. We have great players. Celebrate them. Don’t criticize. Don’t tear them down. Build them all up, and whoever wins it, good for them. And that’s one thing that’s been really disappointing this year with the whole MVP conversation and all the hot takes. It’s really just gotten ugly and nasty, and I really don’t care for it.” -via / March 23, 2023
Malcolm Brogdon on MVP race: I think Joker is probably No. 1 right now. He’s having another incredible superb season, but I think that Giannis and JT are in that conversation as well. I think that they’re both having great seasons. -via Bally Sports / March 21, 2023
When asked if he believes Joel Embiid is worthy of the MVP, Erving said that he is but noted that the competition remains stiff with superstars like Nikola Jokic, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Luka Doncic. “I think he’s definitely worthy. I think he’s been worthy in the past,” Evring said. “Jokic is formidable. Tremendous numbers and his team was leading the conference for most of the season. So he’s formidable, Giannis is formidable and Luka is formidable. One of those four and it might be Joel’s turn, which would be poetically justifiable.” -via Clutch Points / March 21, 2023

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