Mark Jackson Left Nikola Jokic Off His MVP Ballot Entirely

Denver Nuggets v Philadelphia 76ers
Denver Nuggets v Philadelphia 76ers / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages

When the NBA MVP votes were released a week ago and revealed Joel Embiid won the award for the first time, much of the focus was on the Philadelphia 76ers star and the fact that Nikola Jokic failed in his bid to win his third straight league MVP trophy. Whilst analyzing the ballot, the more keen-eyed observers among us realized that somebody had left Jokic of their ballot entirely. Didn't give Jokic a not for first, second, third, fourth, or fifth-place. Who would have done that? Was it a slip of the finger, a mistake on the digital ballot? A particularly spiteful Philadelphia media member who was willing to go to great lengths to help Embiid and put down Jokic?

It turns out it was none of those things. On Thursday the NBA released the full ballots for every award announced over the last few weeks and the culprit was revealed -- ESPN's Mark Jackson did not vote for Jokic, instead putting Embiid followed by Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jayson Tatum, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Donovan Mitchell.

The thing is that it's not crazy to argue SGA or Mitchell deserved a vote. Nobody (not even Jackson, as you can see) thought they should win but there is a case to be made.

There is no case to be made that Jokic deserved to be left off the ballot. The man averaged 24.5 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 9.8 assists while shooting 63 percent from the floor. Sixty-three percent! He did that while his team to the top overall seed in the West! What about any of those facts suggests he does not deserve at least one spot on a five-player ballot?

It is a joke. Jackson deserves all the criticism coming his way about it because there is no logical argument he can make that justifies this decision.

UPDATE: Jackson publicly apologized and said it was a mistake. Props to him for owning up to it, even if we are as baffled as he is about how this possibly could've happened.