Early in the season and somewhat towards the end of the NBA year Nikola Jokic was considered an MVP candidate. Some laugh at this saying the Nuggets are a regular season team and it won’t translate to wins in the playoffs. Well, after a first round series win against the San Antonio Spurs and a game 1 win against the Portland Trailblazers, I believe it is time to put some respect on the Nuggets name. Now I believe the Trailblazers may win this series against the Nuggets in the end, but the Nuggets will not go down without a fight. The Nuggets fought all year with the Golden State Warriors for the best record in the Western Conference, but fell just short. Do I think the Nuggets are as good as the Warriors or Rockets? No, I don’t, but I do believe people need to respect what the Nuggets do.
Nikola Jokic has been astounding this season averaging 20.1ppg. 10.8reb., and 7.3ast. If you don’t watch the Nuggets or Jokic play these number may not blow you away or really catch your eye, but Jokic runs and controls this offense. Paul Millsap was quoted saying, “I consider him like a Tom Brady, he’s always going to pick you apart and make the right reads. I commend him for doing that at this stage in his career. It’s unbelievable.”. This is extremely high praise from a veteran in the league who has seen a lot in his time in the league. In the playoffs Jokic averages 119.8 touches per game with just 1.9 turnovers per game. This is absolutely insane when you look at other stars in the league like James Harden who averages 78.7 touches per game with 5.3 turnovers, and Kevin Durant who averages 71.7 touches and 4.4 turnovers per game. These are stats provided by Paul Hembekides. The reason these stats are so mind blowing is just how often Jokic touches the ball and controls the ball in that offense, but also how little he turns the ball over given how many touches he has per game. In game 1 of the Nuggets Trailblazers series, Jokic had 37 points on only 24 true shot attempts and 27% usage. Also, Jokic tallied 9 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 blocks, and 6 assists which accounted for 15 points, and only 2 turnovers. Jokic shot 12/12 from the free throw line, and 3/5 from behind the arc which is very solid for a big man. ,
What is amazing about this Nuggets team is Jokic can go for 30-point games and have 6-8 assists in a win, or he can score 20 points and go for 10-12 assists and still manage to win. This team has shooters and playmakers all over the floor, Jokic just orchestrates the offense and will always make the right play. I don’t believe this team is ready to win a championship, but they aren’t far off. Honestly the missing piece for this team could already be on the team. His name is Michael Porter Jr., Porter was drafted in last years draft, but has sat out all season due to a back injury. Porter would provide length, shooting, and athleticism to this lineup which would make them even more lethal. There is no way to know whether he is the answer or not, but we will find out next season more than likely.
The only thing Jokic could work on this offseason is losing some weight possibly, and improving his defense immensely. Other than that, he is an offensive machine and I wouldn’t be shocked if the Nuggets won this series against Portland. It will more than likely go to 6 or 7 games, but either way people and media need to start realizing who the Nuggets are, and just how dangerous this team could be in the future.