Serbian Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic was voted Most Valuable Player of the 2021 NBA season.

Shams Charania, from The Athletic web portal, was the first to share the information. Jokic had 91 first-place votes.

Jokic, the first center to win the award since Shaquille O’Neal did it in 2000, he became the third European player to win it. The Greek Giannis Antetokounmpo prevailed in the last two awards and Dirk Nowitzki He did it in 2007.

Furthermore, the Serbian is the lowest pick (41) to achieve this distinction. That’s not including Moses Malone, according to ESPN Data, who started his career with the ABA. Giannis and Steve Nash (15) had previously been the lowest.

Jokic led the Nuggets to third place in the Western Conference with a 47-25 record.

He averaged 26.4 points, 10.8 rebounds and 8.3 assists. Likewise, he shot for 56.6% from the field, 38.8% from the triple and 86.8% from the free throw.

It could have been Joel Embiid, who had the best season of his career and led Philadelphia to the best record in the Eastern Conference. But Embiid ended up missing 21 games during the regular season, about the only thing that could slow him down as he set his career-high marks in points per game (28.5) and all three shooting percentages (51.3% overall, 37.7% from 3s. and 85.9% from the free throw line).

After Curry, a two-time winner of this award, missed all but three games last season after breaking his hand, he led the NBA in scoring for the second time in his career, averaging even 32 points per game while shooting 42.1% from triple, a career-high 12.7 attempts from behind the arc per game.

If there was any doubt that Curry was still among the elite of the game after the year was mostly out and into his 30s, he quickly dispelled them.

The almost single-handed 33-year-old point guard kept Golden State’s offense afloat this season without Klay Thompson, who missed his second straight season due to injury, this time with a torn Achilles tendon.

ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk and Tim Bontemps contributed to this story.

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