Every so often, an NBA player comes into the league that is so polarizing to the national public, arguments and fights often occur in defense or against this player. No player has personified that more than Nikola Jokic. The Joker has been a hot button issue for so many people for so long. Some people attack his perceived lack of defense. Some attack his shooting ability. Some attack his lack of a true alpha dog mentality.
Well, he fixed up the first issue as best as he can and has become a competent defender ever since. The shooting is on the rise with his three-point percentage ballooning to 32.7 percent after an abysmal start. The alpha dog mentality is different though. Jokic’s play style will always lead to those questions because he’s trying to make the best play.
But when the game is on the line and he has a chance to win it, Nikola Jokic has yet to miss this year. Yesterday, he added to that total with another game winner against the Dallas Mavericks. Jokic found himself being guarded by the smaller Dorian Finney-Smith on a switch with the shot clock turned off and the Denver Nuggets down one. So, he made the mature decision to slow the game down, call his own number, and patiently back his man from the post into the middle of the paint where he turned and lobbed up an easy jump hook from five feet out. It was so simple, yet so painfully effective for the Mavericks and desperately needed for the Nuggets.
That shot capped off a stellar night of 33 points, 7 assists, and 6 rebounds for the Joker, and it once again proved, one game after dropping 47 points, that Jokic is capable of taking over at any given moment in the fourth quarter. He did it months ago against the Philadelphia 76ers, a week ago against the Indiana Pacers, and tonight against a potential Western Conference playoff matchup.
There’s nothing left for Jokic to prove. Many will go to great lengths to disregard the shots he has made and the production he has accumulated, but Nuggets fans know the truth. He’s the real deal and a perfect superstar for the Denver Nuggets for years to come.