Houston (USA), May 20 (EFE) .- The star point guard Stephen Curry, of the Golden State Warriors, and the pivots, the Serbian Nikola Jokic, of the Denver Nuggets, and the Cameroonian Joel Embiid, of the Philadelphia Sixers, were chosen as the finalists for the 2020-21 NBA regular season Most Valuable Player (MVP) award.
The top three vote winners for each of the NBA’s top end-of-season awards – MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Sixth Man of the Year, Most Improved Player and Coach of the Year – were announced in ” Inside The NBA “on TNT before the Washington Wizards and Indiana Pacers met in the eighth-place game of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
For both Curry, Jokic and Embiid, getting the award will allow them to achieve historical recognition, because for the former it would be his third as a professional, which would make him one of the nine players in NBA history to win at least three MVP awards. , tying him with Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Moses Malone.
While for the Jokic and Embiid they would achieve their first award since they arrived in the NBA and also the first time that a center received the recognition since Shaquille O’Neal achieved it in 2000 with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Curry, 33, became the oldest player to lead the league in scoring since Michael Jordan, averaging 32 points per game as he recovered from missing all but five games last year to play 63 this season.
The All-Star point guard made it possible for the Warriors to reach the play-in tournament of the powerful Western Conference, as eighth places, and although last night they lost the second game of the entry tournament 103-100 against the Los Angeles Lakers they will still have the opportunity to reach eighth place in the playoffs if tomorrow, Friday, at home, they beat the Memphis Grizzlies.
Jokic had one of the best offensive seasons in league history, averaging 26.4 points; 10.8 rebounds and 8.3 assists while he had 57 percent shooting from the field, 39 from triples and 87 from the personnel line.
His contribution throughout the season, which allowed the Nuggets to finish third in the Western Conference, make him the favorite to win the award.
Embiid had the best season of his career, averaging 28.5 points; 10.6 rebounds; 2.8 assists and 1.4 blocks per game for the Sixers, whom he helped achieve the best record in the Eastern Conference and Atlantic Division champions.
Another tall European man, Utah Jazz’s French center Rudy Gobert, winner of two Defensive Player of the Year awards, is a finalist to win a third this season, accompanied by Australian Sixers point guard Ben Simmons and winger. Warriors center Draymond Green, the winner in the 2017 edition.
A trio of bases consisting of LaMelo Ball of the Charlotte Hornets, Anthony Edwards of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Tyrese Haliburton of the Sacramento Kings, led the voting for Rookie of the Year.
While two of Gobert’s teammates in the Jazz, Australian forward Joe Ingles and point guard Jordan Clarkson finished as the finalists for the Sixth Player award alongside veteran New York Knicks point guard Derrick Rose.
Rose’s teammate, power forward Julius Randle, is one of three finalists for the Most Improved Player, along with two other number four, Jerami Gran of the Detroit Pistons and teammate Michael Porter Jr. Jokic, with the Nuggets.
Randle’s coach Tom Thibodeau, who won the Coach of the Year award in 2011, has a chance to win it a decade later.
Thibodeau, along with Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams and Jazz coach Quin Snyder, are the finalists who will aspire to win the award.
The NBA is returning to its long tradition this year and announcing the various award winners during the playoffs, as opposed to the recently created end-of-season awards show.
The league did the same during its bubble at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, last year, after the coronavirus pandemic was declared.
(c) EFE Agency