Denver Nuggets Starters: Center Nikola Jokic

Denver Nuggets (Photo by Justin Tafoya/Getty Images)
Denver Nuggets (Photo by Justin Tafoya/Getty Images) /

Premier big man in the league, Nikola Jokic is leading the Denver Nuggets to unknown territory as play-off contender hopefuls.

Making your NBA debut at 19 years old and being a premier player in less than three seasons is exactly the story of the crown jewel of the Denver Nuggets, Center and Serbian native Nikola Jokic.

While Jokic had 3 seasons  experience in the Mega Basket League based in Belgrade, he did not play in the NBA until 2015 after being drafted by the Denver Nuggets in 2014 in the second round (41st overall pick).

He did earn Adriatic League MVP in 2015 and ABA League Top Prospect.  His first NBA season he made the All-Rookie First Team.  Jokic has also represented Serbia in the Olympics earning him a silver medal, losing the Gold to team USA.

Jokic may not look the part when you see his numbers.  He is doing things no one does and hasn’t since Wilt Chamberlain.  He can drain a three as easy as his some will sink a free throw.  As a seven footer, he isn’t hindered by the same things that bring down other big men.  He has an 88% free throw percentage and a soft touch.

The element that enamored people to Jokic is more undefined.  We can throw numbers and statistics at this and be lost for days.  It’s more.  It’s the idea that he came in and this was his team immediately. Not in a controlling, power trip way, just his.  His style slow began to seep in and the whole club reorganized around  this rare, unique style.  Beside the physical talents and impossible basketball he plays, he’s been a natural leader that has bound the players to a dream.

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The Nuggets are never really taken seriously for championship runs, they aren’t even expected to make noise in the play-offs.  Jokic has changed that.  The Nuggets are a real threat and the dark horse in the West.  The club reaffirmed their confidence in Jokic when they re-signed him to a max contract.  So begins the Era of the Joker.