Somehow, we neglected to add this onto our first NBA Tuesday miniseries, as the 2022 season ended a long time ago—and we had done the 2021 season in Fall 2021. Shame on us! But hey, we have been a roll with our second miniseries, and well, it just slipped our minds. Surprisingly, nobody reminded us, either, so this is a call out to loyal readers to help us get with it!
Enough of that; on with the awards analysis …
2022 NBA MVP: Nikola Jokić, C, Denver Nuggets (original, confirmed)
Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokić posted the highest PER mark in the history of the NBA (32.65). The only players to ever crack the 31-point level previously were Jokić in 2021, Giannis Antetokounmpo in 2020, Stephen Curry in 2016, LeBron James three times (2013, 2010, 2009), Michael Jordan four times (1991, 1990, 1989, 1988), and Wilt Chamberlain three times (1964, 1963, 1962).
Jokić also topped the NBA in Win Shares (15.24), followed by Milwaukee Bucks power forward Antetokounmpo (12.92), Philadelphia 76ers C Joel Embiid (12.05), Utah Jazz C Rudy Gobert (11.67), and Minnesota Timberwolves C Karl-Anthony Towns (10.28). It clearly was a big man’s league in 2022. When we look at the standings, now convoluted by the play-in gimmick, we see something close(r).
The top six teams in each conference were guaranteed playoff spots, so these were the cushions: Denver (2), Milwaukee (7), Philly (7), Utah (3), and Minnesota (-2). Now, the T’wolves played themselves in, but the gap between KAT and the Cookie Monster is too wide. Without Jokić, the Nuggets would have been way down the postseason list, and with him, they had clinched. That tops KAT’s value.
The historicity of Jokić’s season, too, cannot be overlooked: at age 26, he posted 27.1 ppg, 13.8 rpg, and 7.9 apg on 58.3-percent shooting from the field and 81-percent shooting from the line in just 33.5 mpg. It is just incredible how efficient he is in his time on the floor, and for that (among other value-oriented rationale), we confirm his MVP vote victory.
2022 NBA ROTY: Scottie Barnes, PF, Toronto (original, confirmed)
Our top contenders here are Toronto Raptors PF Scottie Barnes (6.6 WS), Cleveland Cavaliers PF Evan Mobley (5.2), New Orleans Pelicans PF Herbert Jones (4.6), and Orlando Magic small forward Franz Wagner (4.0). Barnes won the vote, as Toronto clinched a Top-6 finish by 4 wins in the Eastern Conference. That will be tough to be, value-wise, for the other three guys.
Meanwhile, Cleveland finished eighth in the East and was bounced in the play-in gimmick. New Orleans finished ninth in the West but played itself into the postseason nonetheless. Orlando finished dead last in the Eastern Conference with 22 victories. Without Barnes, the Raptors are in the play-in situation with the Cavs and the Pelicans. So, we confirm his vote win, in terms of value and quality of play.
Here are Barnes’ digits: 15.3 ppg, 7.5 rpg, and 3.5 apg on 49.2-percent shooting from the floor over 35.4 mpg in 74 games, all starts. He was a reliable front-court rock all season for the Raptors, and it shows in his WS mark and his traditional stat line as well.