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After Nikola Jokic recorded his 10th triple-double of the season in a hard-fought 88-82 win over the Trail Blazers on April 10 and led the Nuggets in a fourth quarter where Denver outscored Portland by nine points, Michael Malone told reporters that his star center needed to start getting the recognition that he deserved.
“If he’s not All-NBA, I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Malone said.
Thursday afternoon, the NBA unveiled its three All-NBA teams as selected by 100 media voters. The Nuggets’ drought without an All-NBA selection extended to eight seasons.
The media voted for All-NBA First, Second and Third Teams by position with points awarded on a 5-3-1 basis. Voters selected two guards, two forwards and one center for each team, choosing players at the position they play regularly. Players who received votes at multiple positions were slotted at the position where they received the most votes.
Jokic garnered 28 points — not nearly enough for an All-NBA Third Team selection. He received the sixth-most points out of centers behind Anthony Davis, Joel Embiid, Karl-Anthony Towns, Rudy Gobert and Al Horford.
Jokic was phenomenal in his third season in Denver. Across 75 games, the 23-year-old averaged 18.5 points on 50 percent shooting from the field and 40 percent from three, 10.7 rebounds, and 6.1 assists per game.
After Jokic was benched in the fourth quarter of a 118-107 loss to the Mavericks, he responded by playing the best basketball of his career. Jokic averaged 24.0 points, 11.5 rebounds, 6.1 assists and was the focal point of Denver’s offense as the Nuggets worked themselves back into playoff contention over the final month of the regular season. Jokic also shot 54 percent from the field and 48 percent from three over the Nuggets’ final 18 games where Denver went 11-7.
Jokic also became the third big man in league history behind Wilt Chamberlain and Kevin Garnett to average 18 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in a season.
“If you look at his numbers right now, the numbers are a joke,” Malone said in the midst of the Nuggets’ stretch run. “Break down his numbers, scoring, rebounding, playmaking, and the efficiency in which he’s doing so.”
In All-Defensive team voting released Wednesday, Nuggets shooting guard Gary Harris and Will Barton both received votes.