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NBA misses Mark with 2024 MVP Award winner

In the sports world, but especially among NBA fans, it’s not uncommon to hear the word “snub.”

According to the Cambridge definition, a snob is “to insult someone by not paying him attention or treating him as if he is not important.” Up until that point, when people use that term, the purpose behind it is black and white. There is no doubt that they believe that an incident occurred where someone was insulted because he/she was not recognized or treated with respect.

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was snubbed when the league announced the winner of the 2024 NBA MVP Award.

NBA misses Mark with 2024 MVP Award winner

On Wednesday, Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic was named the 2023-2024 Most Valuable Player. It’s the third time the former second-round pick has won the award. Not bad for a player who people say doesn’t get enough respect.

The Nuggets (57-25) finished second in the West, with Jokic averaging nearly a triple-double and leading his team in scoring. In any MVP race, that would earn plenty of praise for the candidacy. However, when comparing his impact this season to that of Gilgeous-Alexander, it is not clear whether he actually should have won.

Gilgeous-Alexander also led his team to a 57-25 record.

Still, the Thunder entered the 2024 NBA Playoffs as the No. 1 seed in the West and won a tiebreaker against the Nuggets. They didn’t achieve this through a do-or-die matchup or a coin flip. Oklahoma City easily defeated Denver 3-1 in their regular season series. For reference, that’s the same record they had against the Utah Jazz. The Jazz finished the season with a 31–51 record, 12th in the West.

The Thunder also broke the tiebreaker by having the better division record. Oklahoma City went 12-4 against the Northwest, while the Nuggets went 10-6. This is largely due to their record against Denver and Utah in head-to-head games. Nevertheless, it’s worth noting that they were 2-2 against the Minnesota Timberwolves, who have won their first six games of the 2024 NBA Playoffs.

A closer look at SGA’s numbers

On an individual level, Gilgeous-Alexander was astonishing.

His wire-to-wire performance propelled him to averages of 30.1 points, 6.2 assists, 5.5 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 0.9 blocks per game. He never averaged fewer than 26 points per game in any month or shot below 46 percent from the field. Gilgeous-Alexander, a wily 6-foot-4 combo guard, carried what recently became the youngest team to win a playoff series to the mountaintop of the West.

That language is not accidental. OKC’s leader at age 25, Gilgeous-Alexander’s scoring average was +11.0 points higher than the Thunder’s second-highest average. For reference, Jokic averaged just +5.2 points more than Jamal Murray in 2023-24. Murray had the Nuggets’ second-highest scoring average.

Gilgeous-Alexander was simply the better scorer overall, averaging 1.11 points per possession compared to Jokic’s 1.07. He even scored 1.19 points per possession on post-ups, compared to Jokic’s 1.14 points per possession. Gilgeous-Alexander was a multi-positional defender who created chaos and made it difficult to get past him and was also better at the other end.

All things considered, the NBA really gave the wrong player the MVP. It’s sad to say, because Jokic is truly one of the all-time greats.

The final word on the MVP race

On a team full of playmakers, Gilgeous-Alexander doesn’t have as much responsibility as a facilitator as Jokic does. Since he doesn’t have the size of the Sombor center, he doesn’t have nearly as much impact on the boards. From that perspective, Jokic has been more valuable. Nevertheless, he benefited from his ever-rising popularity in this race, and that is ultimately why he won.

Not because he was a better rebounder or averaged +2.8 more assists per game.