Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo are repeat MVP finalists.

Tim Bontemps | ESPNReading: 5 min.

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Two-time defending NBA Most Valuable Player Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo were named finalists for the league MVP award for the second consecutive season in Vienna.

The award finalists for the league’s top seven individual awards, as voted on by members of the media, were announced on TNT’s “Inside the NBA” before Friday night’s Eastern Conference game in Miami between the Heat and Chicago Bulls. Voting will be held on Monday night.

Jokic, Embiid and Antetokounmpo finished in that order in MVP voting last season and three of the top four in 2021 MVP voting.

Jokic became the fourth player in NBA history to win three consecutive MVPs, joining Hall of Famers Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell. He is coming off a season in which he became the third player and first center to average a triple-double and led Denver to the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference.

Meanwhile, Embiid led the league in scoring for the second straight season since Hall of Famer Bob McAdoo in the 1970s. He finished second to Jokic on the last two MVP ballots.

Antetokounmpo led the Milwaukee Bucks to the best record in the NBA as he would go on to collect his third MVP award.

The league’s top defensive honor will go to Grizzlies forward Jaron Jackson Jr., who leads the league in blocks per game (3.0) for the second straight season, along with Bucks center Brook Lopez and Cavaliers forward Evan Mobley. Lopez helped Milwaukee post the best record in the NBA and the fourth-best defensive record in the season, while Mobley helped establish the best defense in the league this season.

Leading the race for Rookie of the Year is Orlando Magic forward Paolo Banchero, with two other picks falling outside the top 10 picks: Oklahoma City Thunder forward Jalen Williams. , the 12th overall pick in the draft last June. draft, and Utah Jazz center Walker Kessler was taken 22nd overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves before being added in the Rudy Gobert trade.

Bucks forward Bobby Portis Jr. joins Boston Celtics guard Malcolm Brocton and New York Knicks guard Emmanuel Quickley as the top two contenders for the award as Sixth Man of the Year.

Sacramento Kings coach Mike Brown, who already won the National Basketball Coaches Association’s Coach of the Year award, was named one of three finalists for the NBA’s Coach of the Year honor after a stellar season in his first year in Sacramento. Playoffs for the first time since 2006. He joins Thunder coach Mark Tignault and Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla, who are in their first year on the job after taking over from Im Udoka just before the start of training camp.

For the Kings, guard De’Aaron Fox was named one of three finalists for the first clutch player of the year award after his late-game heroics helped the Kings finish third in the West. Miami’s Jimmy Butler and Chicago’s DeMar DeRozan joined as finalists for the award.

Finally, Jazz forward Larry Markkanen made his first All-Star team this season after being acquired from the Cavaliers in the Donovan Mitchell trade last summer, and Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was named an All-Star for the first time. And are expected to be All-NBA selections this year, two of the finalists for the league’s Most Improved Player award. They were joined by Knicks guard Jalen Brunson, who shined in New York after signing with the franchise as a free agent from the Dallas Mavericks last summer.

The NBA will announce the winners in the coming weeks when the playoffs begin this weekend, and reveal the All-NBA, All-Defense and All-Rookie team selections. They were all voted on by a panel of 100 media members.

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Eden Hayes

"Wannabe gamer. Subtly charming beer buff. General pop culture trailblazer. Incurable thinker. Certified analyst."

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