Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic entering Wilt Chamberlin territory as MVP campaign builds momentum

Nuggets' Nikola Jokic entering Wilt Chamberlin territory as MVP campaign builds momentum

Despite a 125-102 loss to the Utah Jazz, the Denver Nuggets Nikola Jokic recorded his ninth triple-double of the season, finishing with 25 points, 15 rebounds and 14 assists.

Jokic now moves to seventh on the all-time list behind Wilt Chamberlain. 

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This was Jokic’s second consecutive triple-double following a 17-point, 13-assist and 12-rebound performance in a blowout win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday night. And much like the triple-double on Saturday, Jokic recorded his triple-double against the Jazz early in the second half. 

Jokic has joined James, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and James Harden as the only players to record three consecutive triple-doubles at least twice in their NBA career.

The Nuggets have had to use 20 players to get through the turmoil and turnover that has come about because of injuries and illnesses, but Jokic has been the one constant, for the most part, this season. In fact, just quietly, Jokic is putting up numbers that are right on par with his MVP season in 2020-21. 

Jokic has been so dominant over the past two seasons that he joined some rarified company.

Only three centers have averaged 25-plus points, 10-plus rebounds and 5-plus assists per game: Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Jokic. It hadn’t been done since 195-76 when Abdul-Jabbar managed it with the Lakers, but Jokic has now done it in consecutive seasons – a feat that hadn’t been done since Chamberlain in 1963-64 and 1965-66. 

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Nuggets coach Mike Malone called Jokic one of the more disrespected reigning MVPs that he can remember.

“If you open up the dictionary and look up the word consistency, there’s going to be a picture of Nikola there,” Malone said. “That’s going back to the (2020 Disney World) bubble, that’s going back to the 72-game season last year and this year. We knew Jamal was going to be out for an extended period, but when you add a Michael Porter (injury) and a P.J. Dozier (injury) to that list, it becomes even more incredible what he’s doing.”

Most triple-doubles in NBA history

*Active players

RANK PLAYER TRIPLE-DOUBLES
1.  Russell Westbrook* 193
2. Oscar Robertson 181
3. Magic Johnson 138
4. Jason Kidd 107
5. LeBron James* 102
6. Wilt Chamberlain 78
7. Nikola Jokic* 66
8. James Harden* 65
9. Larry Bird 59
10. Fat Lever 43

Four of the top 10 players on the list are currently in the league, with Lakers guard Russell Westbrook sitting at No. 1, while Jokic is the only non-guard on the list alongside Wilt Chamberlain. In fact, Jokic joins Chamberlain as the only two centers in history with 50 triple-doubles. 

The Denver Nuggets are 22-20 this season and currently sit sixth in the Western Conference. In 37 games this season Jokkic is averaging 25.3 points, 13.9 rebounds and 7.4 assists per game.

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