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 up to seventh on the all-time list behind Wilt Chamberlain.

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This was Jokic’s second straight triple-double following a 17-point, 13-assist, 12-rebound performance in a blowout victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday night. And just like Saturday’s triple-double, 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 overcome the confusion and turnover that has ensued due to injuries and illnesses, but Jokic has been the one constant, for the most part, this season. In fact, Jokic is quietly racking up numbers that are on par with his MVP season in 2020-21.

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

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

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

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

*Active players

RANK PLAYER TRIPLE-DOUBLE
one. Russell Westbrook* 193
two. oscar robertson 181
3. magic johnson 138
Four. jason kidd 107
5. Lebron James* 102
6. wilt chamberlain 78
7. Nicholas Jokic* 66
8. James Harden* Sixty-five
9. larry bird 59
10 fat lever 43

Four of the top 10 players on the list are currently in the league, with Lakers shooting guard Russell Westbrook sitting at No. 1, while Jokic is the only non-shooting guard on the list along with 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 in sixth place in the Western Conference. In 37 games this season Jokkic is averaging 25.3 points, 13.9 rebounds and 7.4 assists per game.