MVP Race: James Harden's shooting struggles create opening for others

MVP Race: James Harden's shooting struggles create opening for others

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MVP Race: James Harden's shooting struggles create opening for others

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4. Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets

STATS: 20.7 ppg, 10.7 rpg, 7.7 apg, 1.4 spg, 1.1 3PTs, 50.3 FG%

The Denver Nuggets refuse to come back down to Earth. All season, doubters have been waiting for Denver to slide in the West standings, but the Nuggets don’t show any signs of slowing down. In fact, they’ve won five-straight games and, at 42-18, they’re just a half game behind the Golden State Warriors for the top seed in the West.

Nikola Jokic is the main reason for their sustained success, as he elevates the play of his teammates with his excellent passing and he can put the ball in the basket when Denver needs him to take over. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Jokic eventually average a triple-double over the course of a season. While Russell Westbrook has normalized this, it would still be incredibly impressive – especially for a center.

Jokic is going to have a hard time moving any higher on this list because the Top-3 MVP candidates have seemingly separated themselves from the rest of the pack. But keep in mind, Jokic just turned 24 years old last week. He’s still developing and tapping into his potential, which is a scary thought for the rest of the NBA.

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