By Jack Lowenstein

(CBS4) – Denver Nuggets players continue to gain praise for high-performance play around the league.

Although he is still out due to minor wrist injury, reigning MVP Nikola Jokic is, once again, receiving a nod for his play on the court. CBS Sports staff writer Brad Botkin places Jokic among the five best performing players.

“For my money, Jokic has been the league’s best player so far. He was off the charts in winning the MVP last season,” Botkin wrote for CBS Sports.

Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets in action during a game against the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena on May 7, 2021 in Salt Lake City.

Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets in action during a game against the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena on May 7, 2021 in Salt Lake City. (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

Botkin says one reason for Jokic’s inclusion in the CBS Sports NBA MVP Rankings this week has been a much improved defensive performance.

“Jokic’s huge-bodied, space-eating presence has always been underrated as people have ragged his defense over the years, but this year he’s moving noticeably better in ball-screen actions, playing at the level when appropriate, retreating to stop lobs, moving his feet one-on-one,” Botkin wrote.

Jack Lowenstein