Three Denver Nuggets Tropes that Need to Die

Denver Nuggets (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
Denver Nuggets (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Denver Nuggets
Denver Nuggets (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Hard to call a guy that puts up 32/18/10 unathletic.

Nikola Jokic suffers from perception in different ways.  One of the most prominent is the questions surrounding his athleticism.  The narrative is that he does his best with his lack of athletic ability.  It’s absurd, of course, you just can’t do the things Nikola does on the basketball floor and not be athletic.

Denver Nuggets
Denver Nuggets /

Denver Nuggets

He can’t jump, I guess that’s the thing that people are pinning that narrative on.  He seems to make the most of his 7 foot 250 lb. frame, averaging 10.4 rebounds per game.  His hand-eye coordination seems fine, he’s sixth in the NBA at 7.7 assists per game. His athleticism is adequate for him to earn MVP chants from the home crowd.

That leads to the real issue that floats around the internet regarding Jokic and that’s how quickly he is dismissed, still, as a one-trick pony or a novelty that is soon to be exposed. He’s not mentioned on MVP lists even though he leads the second ranked team in the ultra-competetive West.  He will likely make the All-Star team but wasn’t voted in.  He was tossed from a game earlier in the season for briefly arguing with the official.  He received a one-game suspension for leaving the bench in an altercation with the Utah Jazz.

Jokic has come off the floor bloodied, his arms are always a mess of scratches and bruises.  Despite that, Jokic is 37th in the NBA in free throws attempted per game.  His 4.4 attempts will make it difficult to cross that 20 ppg threshold.  James Harden for example attempts nearly 12 free throws per game and Joel Embiid 10.

It’s a fundamental lack of respect for the generational talent Jokic displays.  His 32/18/10 performance was a first in Denver Nuggets history, more impressive, it’s the first time in NBA history that has been accomplished in 34 minutes or fewer.  Every few nights Jokic puts up a stat line that is historic.  His accomplishments get listed among the greatest NBA centers of all time.  He already has more triple doubles than every center to ever play the game except Wilt Chamberlain.  He passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in his fourth season.

It’s almost as if Jokic’s stats are so absurd that people can’t believe them or the historical place that Jokic occupies.  The craziest thing is that Nikola is just scratching the surface at 23 of what his complete game is going to look like.

It’s not media or fan recognition that matters, it’s the league letting him be a star.  He is an MVP candidate, he is the best center in the NBA, in a few years he will be one of the best all-around players in the league.  There’s really no way around these ideas, save catastrophic injury.  Whether the old guard recognizes or not, Jokic is not going to be able to be denied his place.  Not if he keeps putting up numbers like he has this year.