The Denver Nuggets have a star and his name is Nikola Jokic.
Jokic is a 22-year-old center from Sombor, Serbia. He can do everything on the offensive end, whether it’s pass, shoot, or post up.
Unlike most star players, Jokic took a different route.
His journey began in 2012 with the Mega Basket team in a European League (Adriatic League) which features teams from Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Macedonia. In 2015, Jokic was awarded the Adriatic League MVP after averaging 15.4 points and 9.3 rebounds. His play gained recognition as the Denver Nuggets selected him with the 41st pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.
Like most European players, Jokic remained overseas for one season and continued to develop his play. In his rookie season with the Nuggets in the 2015-16 season, he averaged 10 points, 7 rebounds, and 2.4 assists in just under 22 minutes a game. As a result, he was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team. His per 36 minutes were impressive: 16.5 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 3.9 assists.
Since then, Jokic has went from looking like a promising boy to what appears to be a franchise player. All the teams that passed up on him in the 2014 draft certainly wish they can get a redo.
This season, Jokic has been at times dominant. He averages 15.7 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 4.6 assists in 27 minutes per game. Not only has he filled the stat sheet, he has been shooting an efficient 58 percent from the field and 82 percent from the free-throw line.
Don’t expect his numbers to remain the same as his numbers have skyrocketed since playing between 30-32 minutes a game. Over the last two months (22 games), he is averaging 20 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 5.4 assists. Only one can imagine what the Joker’s numbers would be as a full-time starter from the jump.
His terrific play has not only given the Nuggets hope for the future but for the present. Denver is currently in eighth place, two games ahead of the Sacramento Kings and Portland Trail Blazers. There is a good chance the Nuggets can make the playoffs and Jokic is the biggest reason.
In the meantime, he will continue to do this:
Nikola just recorded his 3rd triple-double this month. 👀 pic.twitter.com/gayfUaB6FS
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) March 1, 2017