A lot of comments have been made about Nikola Jokic winning the MVP this year. Some are positive, and some are negative, including Stephen Jackson’s comments. The former NBA player thinks Jokic doesn’t deserve to win back-to-back MVPs and even used another player who achieved the feat as a comparison.
“He isn’t a back-to-back MVP like Steve Nash.”
Stephen Jackson thinks Jokic is not worthy of being back-to-back MVPs, just like Steve Nash wasn't, in Jackson's opinion. The former Phoenix Suns guard achieved the feat in 2005 and 2006, and like The Joker, many argued there were more deserving players than him. Stack clarified he isn’t questioning the Serbian’s qualities as a player but the process of voting for the MVP.
“We gotta get hold of this voting s**t, man. Jokic is great. I ain’t taking nothing from him but he isn’t back-to-back MVP just like Steve Nash wasn’t the back-to-back MVP. And these are just facts, man. It’s other players who are having great years, career years, whose teams have a chance to win the championship. If you know the game, you know Denver did not have a chance to win the championship. I got an idea, the Top 75, why don’t you all let them vote? The Top 75 players all-time let them vote for the MVP every year.”
Stack was right and wrong in some parts. He’s right that other players probably had a better chance of winning the trophy, like Joel Embiid. The Philadelphia 76ers are still in the playoffs while the Denver Nuggets have gone fishing. So it’s not entirely Jokic’s fault that Denver got bounced early, but if you’re tagged as the best player in the league, it’s expected that you can carry the team at least deeper in the postseason, if not the Finals.
Stack is wrong to suggest that the Top 75 should vote for the MVP. While they all played the game and know what is up, some of them may be biased toward the players from their former teams or may not be as invested as much watching the current stars play. Yes, their opinions matter but should not weigh the most in determining the MVP.
How to solve this dilemma moving forward
There will always be winners and losers when giving out individual awards. Regular-season MVP should be given to those who carried and led their teams in the regular season. Both Jokic and Embiid carried their teams, and without them, their teams might not even make the postseason or the play-in tournament.
Both also faced setbacks, with Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. injured and Ben Simmons sitting out games. Either of them deserves to win, but an overhaul of the voting system should be revisited. A panel of people from the media gets to decide who is the best player in the NBA during the regular season. These people narrate stories for a living, and naturally, they navigate towards the stories that can come up with certain players.
If the voting system needs to change, it must include the voice of the current players who know who’s the best player night in and night out. The coaches could also chime in, the fans and the retired players. The media can also give their vote, but overall, other areas should also be well represented in the voting process. In this way, the MVP gets the deserving nod from the fans, media, and players alike.