Nikola Jokic is a top five center in the NBA

Nikola Jokic
Photo: Ron Chenoy, Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)

Every gameday for the Denver Nuggets, we see Nikola Jokic ball out.

Jokic has improved his game over the years and is a top-five center in the NBA. His name deserves to be talked about as much as other centers in the league, including the likes of Joel Embiid. When Jokic is on the court, he enhances the Nuggets game plan.

Jokic can make anything happen for the Nuggets. He can score the ball using tough post moves and back-downs under the rim. He is shooting 42.3% from behind the arc and has proven the ability to hit contested and uncontested shots. He is the third leading scorer in the league among the center position, averaging 19.4 points per game. He sits atop the league in assists from centers with seven per game. The next closest is four assists per game from Nikola Vucevic.

Jokic is unique because he can play like a point guard. Every game, Jokic brings the ball up for the Nuggets on the fast break and executes. As a center, that’s a bonus for the team and that’s why they are 7-1 in the Western Conference. Jamal Murray, the starting point guard of the Nuggets, has trust in Jokic when he’s handling the ball. Much of the offense results with Jokic executing a play or moving well without the ball.

Nikola Jokic had one of the most perfect shooting performances in the NBA already this season. On October 20th, the Nuggets played the Phoenix Suns and Jokic did not miss a shot. He shot 11 for 11 from the field, including three makes behind the arc, missed only one of 10 free throws, had four steals, 11 assists, and grabbed 11 defensive rebounds to secure the win. We haven’t seen a center shoot 100 percent in a game with at least 10 field goals.

His 7- foot height benefits his view of the court. He has a good perspective for backdoor cuts, flare screens, and pick-and-roll scenarios. He has completed on-point, no-look passes to Jamal Murray and Paul Millsap a handful of times as if he had eyes in the back of his head. A playmaking center with good court vision is beneficial for an organization like the Nuggets that has the right guys to play around him.

Jokic is also a decent defender at the rim. The Nuggets are the fourth best defensive team in the NBA, with a 102 rating. As a rim protector, he can time the ball right and send it off the backboard. Both he and Milsap have been playing very well together this season, along with other tall players down low like Juancho Hernangomez and Trey Lyles.

Other centers in the league are dominating, too. Andre Drummond is the rebound monster and is leading the league in that category with 16.3 rebounds per game. Joel Embiid leads the league in points amongst centers and is currently running the show with Ben Simmons in Philadelphia. The New Orleans’ star, Anthony Davis, is considered a power forward but can play the center position. He looked dominant before he had to sit out due to an elbow injury. Jokic performs just as well as those aforementioned player, and should be considered one of the best in the league.




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