Fresh off of the Nuggets Media Day it’s time to look at how we expect the Nuggets players to grow and what we think they can accomplish.
Our fifth and final starting Nuggets player is center Nikola Jokic. There’s not a lot that hasn’t been said about the 23 year-old Serbian star but let’s say it all again because talent like Jokic’ doesn’t come around often.
It certainly doesn’t come around often for the Denver Nuggets who have a long history of poor-to-moderate draft success. The Nuggets have never had the first pick in the NBA draft, the best they’ve done is third, on two occasions.
The first time, Denver picked Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf from LSU. Abdul-Rauf was an insanely talented point guard whose career in Denver was derailed by, of all things, an Anthem protest.
The last time Denver picked third, they selected Carmelo Anthony. Anthony’s best years as a professional were in Denver, where he forced a trade and has piled up individual statistics but had no team success.
Both instances were always crapshoots, sometimes the fragile psyche of a lottery pick can be more trouble than it’s worth. Sometimes, as in the case of Mahmoud, things just happen. For the record, I did not mention Abdul-Rauf’s Tourette’s diagnosis because he is still playing and shooting lights out in Big3 basketball.
Nikola was the 41st pick. None of the pressure, none of the diva. Maybe that’s why it’s worked so well for Denver, the FORMER dusty, little cowtown. We’re a pretty laid-back bunch and Jokic just gets us and we, him.
The love affair in Denver is well-documented but there are some things Nikola can do to round out his game: