Name: Nikola Jokic
Team: Denver Nuggets
2016-17 Regular Season Traditional Stats: 16.7 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 4.9 apg, 0.8 bpg, 57.8 FG%, 32.4 3PT%, 82.5 FT%
2016-17 Regular Season Advanced Stats: 26.3 PER, 64.0 TS%, 9.7 WS, 6.2 OBPM, 2.2 DBPM, 5.3 VORP
Yes, we’re talking Nikola Jokic again. I know that this has been a hot topic throughout NBA Twitter. Many people are tired of debating whether Jokic is the best young big in the league right now, or if that title belongs to Karl-Anthony Towns, Joel Embiid, or Kristaps Porzingis. Jokic’s case in that race is not too shabby though, so to dismiss him is not wise.
Jokic was the main cog in the Denver offense. When the keys to the starting squad were handed to him, and he was given the green light, that’s when the Nuggets really started to hit their stride. Jokic was giving the team second chances with by averaging nearly three offensive rebounds per game. He was also able to find guys open from Gary Harris and Jamal Murray on the perimeter down to Kenneth Faried in the paint.
Every fan of advanced stats is also a fan of Nikola Jokic. Ok, maybe not every single one, but it’s most likely close. His efficiency is through the roof. The biggest reason for that would be his passing. In the post, while dribbling at the top of the key, or by skip pass, Jokic has been able to make the right pass in any situation. A lot of times, it seems as though the man has eyes in the back in of his head. That being said, as a teammate of his, this would make you want to play with him on the court every time. He makes his teammates better, and that’s one major impact that we all look for in a player.
However, let’s dial back the praises just a bit. While he has been a tremendous asset on offense, his defense still leaves a lot to be desired. He’s not a very good rim protector, and he does not present a threat in the paint. Opposing teams are not afraid to go right at him. This was one of Denver’s biggest weaknesses. Their defense was nowhere near good enough to stop the better teams in the West. So, as long as Jokic continues this trend, Denver can have an exciting offense, but the defense will continue to hold him and the entire team back.