If you’re not familiar with Film Fridays, each Friday, I’ll be looking at some recent Denver Nuggets’ games, lineups or something else from a film aspect to try and bring you a piece of content that you’re not getting somewhere else. Feel free to give any feedback positive or negative in the comments or find me on Twitter.

The Nuggets are 32-13 with a 21-3 record at home and the league’s second-best net rating since December eighth. Superstar center Nikola Jokic is coming off of back-to-back MVP campaigns, and the argument can be made that he’s having the best season of his career this year. His points per game are down from last season, but he’s shooting 62.6 percent from the field on 15.2 attempts per game while averaging 9.9 assists per game. 

In the history of the NBA, only four other players, aside from Jokic, have averaged 15 or more field-goal attempts per game while shooting 60 percent or better from the floor. They were Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kevin McHale, Shaquille O’Neal, and Zion Williamson, who is currently in the midst of a second season of doing this. None of them ever topped 61.1 percent, and Jokic is a step above them. His 65.4 percent effective field goal percentage is also four percent better than anyone else on that list.

Jokic is on the team with the best record in the Western Conference while leading the league in triple-doubles Offensive, Defensive and Total Box Plus-Minus. He’s second in assist percentage and true-shooting percentage, although that player is taking half of the shots per game that Jokic is attempting. Anyone using the excuse of voter fatigue as a detraction from Jokic winning a third straight MVP trophy are just too stubborn to accept the fact that Jokic is the clear leader in the clubhouse.

Consistency & Clutch

In 41 games this season, Jokic has shot below 50 percent from the field just once. That was in the sixth game of the season against the Utah Jazz in a game his team won by 16. Among players with at least 20 minutes per game and 15 or more games played, Jokic is second in net rating, first in offensive rating and first in Player Impact Estimate. Disregarding the fact that Jokic is nearly a foot taller than me, this shot in particular is the one I would probably hate guarding the most. On the year, he’s shooting 65.5 percent on shots from 16 feet out to the 3-point line. He doesn’t do anything special on them either. Here, he’s in isolation against Jusuf Nurkic with the shot clock gradually ticking down. He faces up and jab steps a few times before rising up for the jumper. When watching it, it almost seems like it always goes in, and, unless you foul him, there’s just no way to stop it.

This game against the Orlando Magic was closer than any Nuggets’ backer would want it to be, but it makes sense with their size and defensive intensity. The Nuggets had gotten rocked in the third quarter, and the Magic outscored them in the fourth as well. However, with the game on the line, the Nuggets’ leader and star center called for the ball with the clock ticking down. He then proceeded to hit a stepback jumper from 3-point range with a defender closing out on him. It was only his 17th point of the night because he’d spent much of the night deferring as evidenced by his 14 assists. However, with the game on the line, the center took a long-range jumpshot and made it. The reactions of his teammate Jamal tells the full story. He passes the ball to Jokic, and he is ready if it comes back to him. However, he sees Jokic shoot, and, while the ball is still in the air, he’s already thrown his hands up in celebration because he knows it’s going in. When you’re good enough that your team is celebrating potential game-winners before they go in, that shows just how used to it they’ve become while still recognizing it in front of them.

A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats

Remember when I said that Jokic was second among players in net rating among that qualified group? Well, he’s bringing his teammates with him. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Aaron Gordon are third and fourth in that metric, and Michael Porter Jr. is 13th. Among 3-man lineups that have played at least 500 minutes together, six of the top eight lineups in net rating feature Jokic, with the other two lineups Gordon, KCP and Murray in one with MPJ in the other. The team’s starting five is second in the NBA in net rating at +16.4 among groups with at least 250 minutes played.

What those 3-man lineups without Jokic leave out are the fact that Jokic is likely also on the floor during those minutes, but the stat is getting just the other guys on the floor. Jokic brings everyone up with him, and that sounds like something the league’s Most Valuable Player would do. The play above isn’t anything special by KCP other than knowing where he needs to be on the floor. He’s in the corner with Jokic on the opposite side. He’s the least likely person to get the ball, so his defender is creeping off of him to try and help on Gordon. The mistake there is that gives Jokic one of his easiest assists of the night. He pump fakes to Bruce Brown, which makes Anthony Edwards go towards him and gives the wide-open passing lane and shot to KCP, who knocks it down to bring the team within two.

Jokic’s vision and basketball IQ astounds me at times because he legitimately sees things develop before they even happen. On this play, Gordon is setting a screen for KCP with Jokic holding the ball at the top of the arc. KCP goes over the screen to take his man with him while Gordon turns to face the ball. There are two defenders between he and Jokic, so any sort of pass is going to be difficult. Jokic sees a sliver of space if Gordon moves towards the rim, so he lobs it there in hopes that Gordon is going to see the same thing. Gordon catches it and finishes the layup. Gordon wasn’t calling for the ball, and he wasn’t posting up like he had position. Instead, Jokic just saw him and threw him open.

For those of you that are still here, remember to leave your feedback in the comments or over on my Twitter, and have a fantastic film-filled Friday.