Nikola Jokic is fresh off his 2nd NBA MVP award. Jokic was able to lead a Denver Nuggets team without Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. to the playoffs. Some people thought that Jokic stole the MVP from Joel Embiid, but the fact of the matter is Jokic did more with less. Now that Jokic will have Murray and Porter back in the fold, can Jokic lead this team to the promised land and take over the spot as the best player in the NBA?
Top NBA Players 2022-2023: #3 Nikola Jokic
Doing More With Less
The Denver Nuggets were without Murray and Porter last season. People suspected that the team would struggle and miss out on the playoffs. Jokic did what an MVP was supposed to do. Surrounded by players like Aaron Gordon, Monte Morris, Will Barton and Jeff Green, Jokic was able to make these guys better around him. Gordon was never meant to be a second scoring option in the NBA, but Jokic made it happen. Morris is a former second round pick that averaged a career high in point, rebounds and assists per game. Barton and Green have both seen better days. From playing with two potential 20 point a game scorers to playing with a roster of rotational players, he made it work and embodied exactly what an MVP is supposed to do.
Nikola Jokic: Two-Way Player?
Jokic will never be confused with Anthony Davis. Earlier in his career, Jokic was often a target for opposing teams due to his slow feet and laziness on defense. Well, times surely have changed. The Joker has been one of the league’s best play makers over the past few seasons. Last season, his defense improved tremendously. Last season, he averaged a career high 1.5 steals and a block per game. Jokic ranked 4th in defensive rating, ahead of names like Chris Paul, last season’s defensive player of the year Marcus Smart, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Giannis Antetokounmpo, all of whom are elite defenders in the NBA.
2022-2023 Season Outlook
Jokic could very well see his scoring numbers go down a bit. Not because his scoring abilities are diminishing but because he will get Porter Jr. and Murray back. However, with those two coming back into the fold, those assist numbers could creep closer to 10. If that’s the case, he could very well find himself winning yet another MVP, his third in a row and finishing next season averaging a triple double. Factor that in with the role players Jokic lead to the playoffs last season and he could very well lead this team to the NBA Finals.
If Jokic is able to this, we could see Jokic take the spot as the best basketball player in the world. Jokic has consistently been making history with his numbers so best player in the world isn’t out of reach. For now, Jokic ranks as the 3rd best player in the NBA.