It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of Nikola Jokic. I started the bandwagon for Jokic all the way back in July of 2015, after watching just two of his summer league games. Emmanuel Mudiay stole the spotlight and the hype but Jokic was the guy that stood out to me the most. His passing and touch were incredible, as was his vision. Big guys rarely get touches in summer league since there is a dearth of intelligent guards to get the ball inside but Jokic transcended that problem. Jokic was the intellignet guard, often seeing passing angles well ahead of the defense (and sometimes, ahead of his teammates on offense).
But what makes him so good? He doesn’t put up gaudy numbers, he doesn’t often make sports center. Heck, he hardly ever dunks the basketball despite being 6-11! Yet for the 2nd straight year Jokic is sitting ahead of major NBA superstars in several advanced metrics. He ranks ahead of Anthony Davis and Kristaps Porzingis in ESPN’s RPM, for example.
This week, in my weekly Friday column at Vice, I wrote a comprehensive breakdown of Jokic’s skill set and attempt to explain what makes him so unique. I argue that there are four major skills and traits that Jokic has on offense that make him such an efficient player:
- Post up decision making
- Short shots
- Dribble hand offs
- Passing (especially from the top of the key)
The article goes fairly in-depth on each of those skills and is worth a checking out for any Denver Nuggets fan or Nikola Jokic fan. It includes some crazy stats, like how Jokic is the only player in the NBA that is shooting 60% from the restricted area and the paint outside the restricted area. There is also a THREE MINUTE highlight reel of Jokic throwing no-look passes for wide open threes, layups, and and-one’s.
Definitely check it out and if you haven’t already, there is still time to jump on the Jokic bandwagon.