DENVER — TNT analyst Charles Barkley did not mince words when talking about the only NBA MVP voter out of 100 who left two-time winner Nikola Jokic completely off their ballot.
"There's something that's been bothering me," Barkley began during halftime of the Denver Nuggets' game against the Pheonix Suns Sunday night. "You know, Joel [Embiid] deserved MVP, and Joker and Giannis [Antetokounmpo], they were one, two and three however you voted."
"There's one person, I don't even know this fool's name, that didn't even have Joker in the top five," Barkley continued. "People like that shouldn't get a vote."
TNT host Ernie Johnson interjected to say that, hopefully, it was a mistake and not intentional by the voter to leave Jokic out of his top five on the MVP ballot.
"You gotta hope it was some kind of oversight or some kind of tabulation thing, and that guy wouldn't consciously say, 'No, he's not in my top five,'" Johnson said.
However, Barkley wasn't accepting any talk about errors.
"For the last six months we've talked about Joker, Giannas and Embiid," Barkley said. "If you have a television, or you actually watch basketball, if you don't think [Jokic] was in the top five, you don't deserve a vote."
"There's got to be some good reason for it, I would hope," Johnson said as they were going to commercial break. "There's got to be a better reason than that."
"Yeah he's a damn idiot," Barkley reiterated once more.
Barkley is not the first to come out in Jokic's defense after it was announced that Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid was named this season's MVP, denying the two-time winner a third-straight award.
At least one voter, Bill Simmons of "The Ringer," has already said he "will probably regret it for the rest of my life" when talking about putting Embiid at the top of his ballot instead of the Serbian superstar.
Embiid finished with 73 first-place votes, 25 second-place votes and 2 third-place votes. Jokic received 15 first-place votes, 52 second-place votes and 32 third-place votes.
Jokic is awaiting word from the NBA on what, if any punishment he will face following a dustup with new Suns owner Matt Ishbia during the Nuggets' 129-124 loss in Game 4.
Game 5 is scheduled to begin 8 p.m. on Tuesday at Ball Arena. The series is tied 2-2.
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