Denver Nuggets superstar Nikola Jokic became just the third reigning Finals MVP to open an NBA season with a triple-double, joining Magic Johnson (1982) and LeBron James (2016).
In Denver’s 119-107 win against the Los Angeles Lakers, the two-time MVP recorded game highs of 29 points, 13 rebounds, and 11 assists in 36 minutes of action. Plus, he shot 12-of-22 (54.5%) from the field.
Per multiple NBA betting sites, the Denver Nuggets hold third-shortest odds to repeat this season in 2024. Sportsbooks are showing better odds for the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks.
Nikola Jokic is the 3rd reigning Finals MVP to open a season with a triple-double, joining:
LeBron James (2016)
Magic Johnson (1982) pic.twitter.com/dOLReqFNzJ
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 25, 2023
Following the pregame ceremony, Denver jumped out to an early 18-point lead and led 63-54 at halftime. The Nuggets outscored the Lakers 32-27 in the fourth quarter. “I think we controlled the game the whole time,” Jokic said.
Jokic, 28, led the NBA last season in true shooting percentage (70.1%), player efficiency rating (31.5), win shares (14.9), box plus/minus (13), value over replacement player (8.8), and triple-doubles (29).
Nikola Jokic joins Magic Johnson, LeBron James as reigning Finals MVPs to open NBA season with triple-double
In 69 starts of the 2022-23 season, Jokic averaged 24.5 points, 11.8 rebounds, a career-high 9.8 assists, 1.3 steals, and 33.7 minutes per game. The eight-year veteran shot a career-best 63.2% from the floor and 38.3% beyond the arc as well.
Jokic joined Celtics legend Larry Bird as the only players to average at least 20 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists for a career in NBA history.
In Denver’s 94-89 win over the Miami Heat in Game 5 of the 2023 NBA Finals, Jokic became the lowest-drafted player in league history to win Finals MVP.
Nikola Jokic received his 22/23 NBA championship ring 👏💍
— BasketNews (@BasketNews_com) October 25, 2023
The five-time All-NBA member was selected 41st overall by the Nuggets in the second round of the 2014 NBA Draft. He passed Dennis Johnson, who was drafted 29th overall in 1979.
Joker became only the third second-round pick to win Finals MVP, joining Willis Reed and Johnson.
In July 2022, he signed a five-year, $272 million max extension with the Nuggets. At the time, his multi-year contract was the richest deal in NBA history.
However, Jalen Brown inked a five-year, $304 million extension with the Celtics this past July.
NBA sportsbooks are giving Nikola Jokic the best odds to win MVP this season.