World news – Keeler: Nikola Jokic with nuggets « like LeBron James, » says Alex English, deserves to be an NBA MVP

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Hey, if you’re going to stand up for Nikola Jokic being the greatest nugget of all time, Alex English is not going to argue. Not after this season. No way.

« Oh man, he’s here, » said the franchise leader in points, assists and minutes, English, on Tuesday before the Nuggets took on the Philadelphia 76ers at the Ball Arena.

« I mean, I don’t claim first place. I will let the people decide and decide for themselves. But … (Jokic) contributed a lot. And if they win a championship, that would be a lot more than what I do could give to this team.  »

English, a 6-foot-7 scoring machine, gave it all. The native of South Carolina averaged 25.9 points and 5.6 boards per game in eleven seasons in Denver. In 1983 he won an NBA title and represented the Nuggets in eight All-Star games.

The argument of the greatest players for years centered on four Hall of Famers, all of whom were crown-worthy: English (1980-90), Dan Issel (1975-85), David Thompson (1975-82) and Carmelo Anthony (2003-) 10).

Only Jokic, who went into the Sixers showdown with an average of 26.9 points, 11.1 rebounds and 8.5 assists, could be on the verge of snapping what none of the other greats could: an NBA MVP award.

« I think (Jokic) has a serious case, » said English of the Nuggets All-Star. « If you look at him seriously the record has been good, there have been times when he has had to carry the team like LeBron (James) would have earlier. Yes, he has a legitimate shot.

« You take him out of the equation, the Nuggets are a good team. You stay there and they have a chance to win the NBA championship.  »

FanDuel listed the Joker (-130) as a favorite of the odds makers earlier this week, followed by James Harden (500) from Brooklyn and Joel Embiid (750) from Sixers. The DraftKings order was the same, with Jokic (-113) ahead of Harden (550), Embiid (600) and James (750).

As the stacked nets continue to rise in the Eastern Conference, Harden does the same in the MVP conversation. However, English believes that the fact that King James is out for at least three more weeks due to an ankle injury supports the Joker’s qualification. And Embiid had missed the last eight Sixers games on Tuesday night because of a knee problem.

« (Jokic) is the MVP, » said English. “Joel Embiid, you could say he had a good year. He was hurt, he was outside. I don’t think he had the impact on his team that Joker has with the Denver Nuggets.

“The only player of this stature who he determines whether his team will lose or win is LeBron James. And he’s out too.  »

Consistency is important. Resilience is important. Health issues. But name recognition and winning are also important, which is why the Nuggets are one of 10 NBA teams that haven’t won the award yet.

Thompson comes closest, finishing third in the 1978 vote with Bill Walton and George Gervin. Jokic finished fourth on the 2019 ballot papers. English finished in the top 13 five times in his career, but only cracked the top 10 twice.
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During the decade that the Blade franchise set records in points (21,645), assists (3,679) and minutes (29,893), Nuggets usually only became stars in one All-Star game or in the playoffs of seen to a national television audience. And these latter stays were often painfully short.

« I think it’s not as difficult (to be recognized) as it was, » said English. « There wasn’t that much coverage in the days when I played. Now I can get Nuggets games every night, just like everyone else. There’s a lot more coverage.

“People know him. People know the players now because they see him play and know what he’s doing and what he means to the team. And that’s very important, especially when you are talking about MVP.  »

Or talk about the greatest nugget of all time. A debate that has just become a little bit more heated. In the right sense.

« I put it there too, » chuckled English. « He’s legitimate. That’s the only thing I can say: He’s real. There are players and there are players. There are players and there are legitimate players. And he’s a legitimate player. »

Ref: https://www.denverpost.com

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