clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The Ultimate Jokic Highlight: Skyline Blue Region

New, comments

What is Jokic’s best highlight?

Introduction

In terms of fun and excitement, Nikola Jokic’s career highlight reel already ranks up there with just about any player in the NBA including Jimmy Butler, Anthony Davis, and Kevin Durant. That’s pretty remarkable considering the 7-footer has just 45 dunks in his career. For reference, Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo has nearly three times that many through just 24 games of the season.

Jokic’s highlights tend to fall into four basic categories: ridiculous passes, fancy post moves, open court moves, and random unique stuff that defies explanation.

The ridiculous passes are by far his most numerous and popular. Back in his sophomore season he temporarily earned the nickname “Magic Jokic” for his penchant for finding weird angles, looking off defenders, and adding some dramatic flair to even the most basic assists. We could’ve made an entire bracket out of just fancy passes alone.

An under rated aspect of Jokic’s game is his footwork in the low post. Jokic somehow manages to score on elite defenders in the post without speed, athleticism, or any kind of lift on his shot.

In the open court, Jokic knows how to change speed (from slow to less slow), look off defenders, crossover at speeds that defy expectation, and make pinpoint passes on a dime. That’s what separates him from other great passing centers, the ability to pass on the move. Arvydas Sabonis, Vlade Divac, and Marc Gasol are all often compared to Jokic in terms of passing ability but those guys were mostly stationary passers, operating out of the post or the elbows. Some of Jokic’s best plays have come on the break where he looks more like Larry Bird than Bill Walton.

But Jokic also makes random plays that are neither assists, nor scores. Those are some of the best ones. Quick plays where Jokic catches a player off guard and throws a winding floater reverse shot that somehow touches nothing but the bottom of the net. One-legged side step shots that no one else on Earth had ever attempted.

To help us figure out which highlight is best, we’ve seeded the 32 best single play clips of his career into an NCAA style bracket and will allow you, the fans, to decide which one comes out on top. Let’s start with the Skyline Blue Region.

The Skyline Blue Region

The Skyline Blue Region

One Handed Slinger vs. Steal on Gasol

The One-Handed Slinger was one of the first highlight passes of Jokic’s career. The play involves a couple different elements that are common in Jokic’s best plays: open court playmaking, looking off the defender, and an unorthodox delivery that lands right on the money. But there are a few things you might not have known or noticed about the play. First, this play happened on...December 15th, 2016, the holy day in Denver and the first game Jokic was back in the starting lineup for good. Second, Mike Miller is Jokic’s biggest fan and the teammate who gives the best reactions to Jokic’s highlight passes. Last, Jokic actually said the ball slipped out of his hands a little on the play which is what made the pass even more spectacular.

The steal on Marc Gasol highlights one of Jokic’s most underrated traits: his quick hands on defense. He has 35 steals on the season which is 2nd in the league among centers behind...Marc Gasol. The irony. Here he picks his pocket, gives him the quick okie doke and drives it coast to coast for a rare jam.

Poll

Which highlight is better?

This poll is closed

  • 88%
    One Handed Slinger
    (305 votes)
  • 11%
    Steal on Gasol
    (41 votes)
346 votes total Vote Now

Tip Pass to Barton vs. Over the Head to Murray

The tip pass makes a couple different appearances in this bracket. Jokic always sees the play developing before it happens so why waste time with catching the ball, pivoting, or even looking. Just redirect the ball mid-flight and deliver it right on the money to a three-point shooter. Bonus points for Juancho’s tip pass celebration that is as casual as Jokic’s highlight.

The over the head to Murray gets docked a few points for being too subtle. On first watch, Denver Nuggets play by play guy, Chris Marlowe, barely even noticed something was out of the ordinary. This is the burden of being Jokic. He makes a one-of-a-kind over the head flip pass for a three-pointer seem ordinary. We are spoiled. Fortunately there is replay and that’s when we get to realize that Jokic is just out here making up new ways to create open shots.

Poll

Which highlight is better?

This poll is closed

  • 87%
    Tip Pass to Barton
    (297 votes)
  • 12%
    Over the head to Murray
    (41 votes)
338 votes total Vote Now

Sling Pass to Murray vs. The Sombor Shuffle

A late entry, this slinging hook pass from Jokic just a week ago is already one of his best. It almost reminds you of that movie WANTED where they curve the bullets around corners. Somehow Jokic threw a pass that bent the fabric of space and time, landing directly in the shooting pocket of Jamal Murray. The slinging pass left Murray open enough to check his feet, set his shot, take a breath, and even make a sandwich or two.

The Sombor Shuffle was another Jokic original. It was invented out of necessity when Jokic had rolled his left ankle and wasn’t able to put too much pressure on it. The tenderness was affecting Jokic’s balance so he started working on a one-legged side-stepping shot that he could use while his left ankle healed. Jokic made 2 or 3 of these shots over the course of a week before he regained strength in his left leg.

Poll

Which highlight is better?

This poll is closed

  • 83%
    Sling Pass to Murray
    (280 votes)
  • 16%
    The Sombor Shuffle
    (54 votes)
334 votes total Vote Now

No Look Wraparound vs. Look Off Darrell

The no look wraparound pass was Jokic’s first big highlight pass. It starts with an airball over Marc Gasol (a surprising amount of Jokic’s highlights come against Gasol) and it finishes with Jokic throwing a backward pass to Kenneth Faried. No one knows how this pass got through two defenders and landed right on the money, especially not Marc Gasol.

The Darrell look-off pass is another Jokic staple. He has this way of giving that expressive face in one direction as he slings the ball to a wide open cutter in the opposite direction. Once again, Mike Miller and the bench is brought up off of their feet.

Poll

Which highlight is better?

This poll is closed

  • 64%
    No Look Wraparound
    (209 votes)
  • 35%
    Look Off Darrell
    (116 votes)
325 votes total Vote Now