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#pounditSunday, June 23, 2024

Mike Malone hints at how Nikola Jokic feels about ‘ugly’ MVP debate

Michael Malone smiling

Feb 5, 2020; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone reacts during the fourth quarter against the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Denver Nuggets coach Mike Malone offered a strong condemnation of the recent tone around the NBA MVP debate.

Malone was highly critical of the debate surrounding the NBA MVP race, even suggesting that his star center Nikola Jokic has been put off by it. Malone called out the “hot takes” that have made the entire process “ugly and nasty.”

“I think this year unfortunately has just taken a really ugly, nasty turn in the MVP conversation, and I think it’s really turned a lot of people off, including him,” Malone said, via Jack Maloney of CBS Sports. “And what’s happening now is there’s so many guys that could win the MVP this year. Great candidates. Joel Embiid is a great candidate, Luka Doncic is a great candidate, Jayson Tatum — whoever you want to put in that mix, those are all deserving. But what happens in today’s society is that everybody, it’s like when I was a college coach and all the negative recruiting. It’s not promoting my guy, it’s ripping down every other guy. And that’s just ridiculous.

“This game, as Adam Silver told us at the All-Star break, the game is in a great spot,” Malone added. “The league’s in a great spot. We have great players. Celebrate them. Don’t criticize, don’t tear them down. Build them all up, and whoever wins it, good for them. And that’s one thing that’s been really disappointing this year with the whole MVP conversation and all the hot takes. It’s really just gotten ugly and nasty, and I really don’t care for it.”

A lot of people will sympathize with Malone’s comments. Some of the things said about the award recently have been ridiculous, highlighted by Kendrick Perkins’ ridiculous take that Jokic is the beneficiary of racist voting patterns. That claim was so absurd that Perkins’ own employer essentially had to disavow it on the air.

Notably, Jokic has fallen behind another player in the race in recent weeks, at least according to oddsmakers. Malone’s point would be fair regardless of that, though.

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