Denver righted the ship in the 2023 NBA Finals on Wednesday, utilizing a historic night from Serbian forward Nikola Jokic to take a 2-1 series lead on Miami.
Jokic finished with the first 30-20-10 game in NBA Finals history, scoring 32 points, pulling down 21 rebounds and dishing out 10 assists in the Nuggets’ 109-94 victory. It’s a win that further cemented Denver as Colorado sports betting favorites.
Through the first three games of the best-of-seven series, Jokic is averaging 33.3 points, 14.0 rebounds and 9.3 assists, while shooting 59% from the field and 44.4% from behind the arc.
That dominant one-man performance has earned Jokic the far-and-away No. 1 spot on the BetMGM Sportsbook Colorado Finals most valuable player leaderboard, with the ninth-year forward sitting at -650 as of Thursday morning.
BetColorado.com took a look at how uniquely dominant Jokic’s Finals performance has been to date, stacking it up against the past 13 MVP’s.
Nikola Jokic Averages In 2023 NBA Finals
- Points: 33.3
- Rebounds: 14.0
- Assists: 9.3
- Blocks 1.0
- Field Goal%: 59.0%
- 3-point FG%: 44.4%
NBA Finals MVPs Since 2010
- 2022: Steph Curry (25.5 PPG/6.3 APG/5.2 RPG/.437 FG%)
- 2021: Giannis Antetokounmpo (28.1 PPG/11.0 RPG/5.9 APG/.569 FG%)
- 2020: LeBron James (25.3 PPG/7.8 RPG/10.2 APG/.493 FG%)
- 2019: Kawhi Leonard (26.6 PPG/7.3 RPG/3.3 APG/.496 FG%)
- 2018: Kevin Durant (26.6 PPG/6.8 RPG/5.4 APG/.516 FG%)
- 2017: Kevin Durant (25.1 PPG/8.3 RPG/4.8 APG/.537 FG%)
- 2016: LeBron James (25.3 PPG/7.4 RPG/6.8 APG/.520 FG%)
- 2015: Andre Iguodala (7.8 PPG/3.3 RPG/3.0 APG/.466 FG%)
- 2014: Kawhi Leonard (12.8 PPG/6.2 RPG/2.0 APG/.522 FG%)
- 2013: LeBron James (26.8 PPG/8.0 RPG/7.3 APG/.565 FG%)
- 2012: LeBron James (27.1 PPG/7.9 RPG/6.2 APG/.531 FG%)
- 2011: Dirk Nowitzki (23.0 PPG/7.0 RPG/2.6 APG/.517 FG%)
- 2010: Kobe Bryant (27.0 PPG/5.4 RPG/5.0 APG/.456 FG%)
- Averages: 23.6 PPG/7.05 RPG/5.3 APG
How Unique Has Jokic Been This Year
Through three games of this year’s NBA Finals, Jokic is on pace to do something no player has accomplished since Michael Jordan in 1996.
Jokic’s current 33.3 points per game average would be the highest since 1987, coming in ahead of Jordan’s 30.4 PPG average for the Bulls during the 1996 NBA Finals.
The next closest MVP to match Jokic’s prolific point output was Jordan in 1993, who finished the series with 32.6 PPG, followed by his 1991 Finals performance, when he averaged 31.5 points per game.
If Jokic’s point output wasn’t jaw dropping enough, throw in that the 7-footer has averaged the highest rebounds per game of any NBA MVP since 1987 (at 14.0 RPG through three games), coming in ahead of Shaquille O’Neal (13.6 RPG in 2000) as potentially the No. 1 rebounder among NBA Finals MVPs since 1987.
The 28-year-old forward has a chance to become the first player in NBA Finals history to average a triple-double per game. LeBron James has been the closest, averaging 7.8 rebounds per game and 10.2 assists per game in 2020 for the L.A. Lakers.
As for the series itself, Jokic and the Nuggets are currently listed as a 3.5-point favorite with a moneyline of -160 in Friday’s Game 4 on Colorado betting apps, while Denver is listed at -800 to win their first title.
Nuggets fans can hang much of their thanks on the shoulders of their Serbian big man, as Jokic has been a man on a mission during the 2023 NBA Finals.