Nikola Jokic does not join Serbia for Olympic qualification

Denver Nuggets NBA star and MVP Nikola Jokic announced Wednesday that he will not be joining the Serbian national basketball team for the Olympic qualifying tournament, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times.

Jokic cited the need to recover after two harrowing seasons in the NBA amid the COVID-19 pandemic. It is unclear whether he will skip the Tokyo Games in case Serbia qualifies.

Jokic has played in all 109 Nuggets games since Aug. 1, so it’s no surprise he wants to rest ahead of the 2021-22 season.

In addition to being named MVP this year, the 26-year-old was named Tuesday to the All-NBA First Team. He scored his third All-NBA direct selection, including a second consecutive first-team selection.

Jokic has averaged 26.4 career points, 10.8 rebounds and 8.3 assists per game this season while shooting 56.6% from the field and 38.8% from deep. His numbers were equally impressive in the playoffs, averaging 29.8 points, 11.6 rebounds and five assists per game on 50.9% shooting from the field and 37.7% shooting from deep.

The Nuggets were swept away by the Phoenix Suns in the second round, ending Jokic’s title dream.

Serbia starts the qualifying tournament on June 29 in Belgrade.

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