Jokic, Embiid, Antetokounmpo finalists for NBA MVP award

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Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) defends against the Utah Jazz during the second half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, April 8, 2023, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

NEW YORK – Nikola Jokic is a finalist to win a third straight NBA MVP award, with Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo the players who can stop him.

The three leading vote-getters for the league's individual awards were announced Friday and the marquee category featured familiar names.

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Jokic repeated as MVP last year, with Embiid the runner-up and Antetokounmpo third. The Denver Nuggets center could now become the first player to win three straight MVP awards since Hall of Famer Larry Bird from 1984-86.

Antetokounmpo has also won consecutive MVP awards, in 2019 and 2020, along with an NBA Finals MVP when the Milwaukee Bucks captured the 2021 title. Embiid, the Philadelphia 76ers center who won his second straight scoring title, has never won.

The winners will be announced beginning next week.

The finalists for the other categories:

COACH OF THE YEAR

Mike Brown, Sacramento; Mark Daigneault, Oklahoma City; Joe Mazzulla, Boston.

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

Paolo Banchero, Orlando; Walker Kessler, Utah; Jalen Williams, Oklahoma City

MOST IMPROVED PLAYER

Jalen Brunson, New York; Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City; Lauri Markkanen, Utah.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis; Brook Lopez, Milwaukee; Evan Mobley, Cleveland.

SIXTH MAN OF THE YEAR

Malcolm Brogdon, Boston; Bobby Portis, Milwaukee; Immanuel Quickley, New York.

CLUTCH PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Jimmy Butler, Miami; DeMar DeRozan, Chicago; De'Aaron Fox, Sacramento.

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