This is an important series for Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic.
Especially for Nikola Jokic.
For Murray, this is his return from the superstar status he lost when an ACL injury messed him up for a season and a half.
Meanwhile, I know this is the playoffs and the playoff stats shouldn't matter... but that is not the case this season.
As I have mentioned, it would be detrimental for Joker to win three consecutive MVP wins and not a single NBA Finals to show. It's almost as synonymous with Golden State's 73-9 season. It's hard to say something about the story without the big BUT or the WHAT IF after the statement.
Nikola Jokic must tow Denver to the next round ESPECIALLY if he wins the MVP award. Joel Embiid has the luxury to sit out the playoffs and win the award because one can argue that he won a regular season MVP award. Again, Jokic doesn't have that luxury. Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, and Larry Bird towed their teams to victory when they won three straight. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Steve Nash, and LeBron James alongside Jokic are the only players to win two straight MVP titles without a finals appearance in that span. With that said, only Nash is remembered in this category because both Captain and King LBJ have won championships in the course of their career. I know Jokic has better MVP averages than Nash but before winning against the Minnesota Timberwolves, he had a combined 1-8 playoff record during his MVP wins.
Again, it's okay for Embiid to win the award and lose the series. Jokic is an example of winning the award twice without winning a playoff series. It's not bad, but it can be embarrassing. If Embiid would "Willis Reed" every appearance he has until Philadelphia gets eliminated or he's healthy enough to play, that would be a plus regardless of the situation.
Of course, if Denver wins the championship, this would have been an epic story. The fact that Jokic knows his situation and for some reason, had the balls to rise from it would make his legendary career even more legendary. Add the fact that this could be Jamal Murray's re-entry to NBA superstardom and Denver's biggest chance to win the championship. This could be as epic as Karl Malone, Charles Barkley, and Reggie Miller winning a championship before he retired or the New York Knicks winning a championship when they played against the San Antonio Spurs in the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season.
These events never finished positively.
If Jokic wins his third MVP trophy, can he accomplish the almost impossible?