Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic named All-Star starter for second consecutive season

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – In a tradition that’s become almost as predictable as the mid-season break itself, Nuggets center Nikola Jokic was named an All-Star starter Thursday evening.

It’s Jokic’s second straight season being named a starter from the Western Conference and his fourth consecutive All-Star selection overall. He’ll be joined in Cleveland on Feb. 20 by fellow West selections LeBron James, Andrew Wiggins, Stephen Curry and Ja Morant. The East selections were Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, Joel Embiid, DeMar DeRozan and Trae Young.

Jokic, the reigning MVP, has cemented himself in the race for best player in the NBA yet again, and he’s doing it with even less help than last season.

The only reason the Nuggets are 26-21 heading into Friday’s game at New Orleans and still in the hunt for homecourt advantage come playoff time is Jokic. His 26.2 points and 7.6 assists per game are similar to what he posted last season, but his rebounds (13.8 per game) have skyrocketed to a career-high. His efficiency hasn’t dropped off, either.

He leads the NBA with 11 triple-doubles, and he’s recorded four 20-20 games (points and rebounds) in the past 17 games.

Without major rotation pieces like Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr., there’s an argument to be made that Jokic’s production this season is more impressive than what he authored last season in winning the MVP. While that’s a conversation for a different day, Jokic has easily been one of the three best frontcourt players in the West throughout the first half of this season.

Thursday’s news made it official.

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