ICYMI: “Ugly, Nasty” MVP Debate GettingTo Jokic

For much of this NBA season, the Denver Nuggets' two-time reigning MVP Nikola Jokic was the clear favorite to land his third straight MVP award. 

But recent events, including the Nuggets' on-court struggles, the great play of Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo, and, most notably, the vitriolic, and sometimes racist chatter in the media and on social media about who should win the award, seem to have taken their toll on the Denver big man.

It certainly has on Nuggets head coach Michael Malone, who calls the whole situation "ugly and nasty."

"This year, unfortunately, it has taken an ugly, nasty turn in the MVP conversation. And I think it's turned a lot of people off, including [Jokic]," said Malone.

And he's right, it's not been about promoting one guy, it's been more about "ripping down" the other guy. "And that's just ridiculous," said Malone.  

"What happens in today's society, is all the negative recruiting... The game, the league is in a great spot. We have great players: Celebrate them! Don't criticize, don't tear them down. Build them all up! Celebrate them! 

"That's one thing that's been really disappointing this year with the MVP conversation and all the hot takes. It's really just got ugly and nasty."

You listening, Kendrick Perkins?

Photo: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports