Denver Nuggets center forward Nikola Jokic28, is perhaps the most talked about and also the best basketball player in the world right now.
In the NBA, Jokic led Denver to the league finals starting on the night between Thursday and Friday, where they will face the Miami Heat. Since 2019, Jokic’s Denver has outscored Miami 9-1. This season, Jokic was too much of a center in the two previous meetings between the teams For Bam Adebayo and to Miami.
Jokic, who is looking for his first NBA championship ring, will be in everyone’s spotlight when the finals begin. The Serbian is expected to lead the Nuggets to their first championship in club history.
Finland’s men’s national basketball team faced Serbia in last year’s European Championships, which under the leadership of Jokic defeated Susijengi by a score of 100-70. Jokic was almost unstoppable against Finland and scored 13/14/7 in the winning match.
Wolf gang center Alexander Madsen played three centimeters smaller and 25 kilograms lighter in the European Championships against the Serbian star.
– An incredible guy, two MVP wins in a row in the NBA. He didn’t get the third one this year, but I claim that it could very well have been given to him as well. However, in the entire history of the NBA, there are not many who have won three MVP titles in a row, Madsen describes.
He’s right, because Bill Russell (1960–63), Wilt Chamberlain (1965–68) and Larry Bird (1963–86) are the only greats with three consecutive regular season MVP titles.
– Jokic’s entire playing is based on his amazing understanding of the game and passing skills, which is exceptional for a player of his size. He can do almost anything and is therefore unstoppable. Because of his size – height 211 centimeters and weight 125 kilograms – there is quite a lot to hold, Madsen reminds.
Madsen notes that Jokic “knows” the nearby defender and knows how to use it to his advantage very well.
– Passes, throws, Hooks can be found in his collection. In addition to this, he also knows how to use his body really well – especially under the basket – and is always aware of how to get his own space. He can play from every position on the court and is really skilled.
The architect of the game between Denver and Serbia, with no bad picks
Madsen says that Susijeng’s coaching had given Jokic as an EC guard instruction that his contact with the ball had to be minimized in certain places.
– We didn’t succeed terribly well here, as you could see from the final result. Both in Denver and in Serbia, most of the games go through him, and it is impossible to take everything away. The point was that he would make as difficult choices as possible, but it felt like he didn’t have an awful lot of bad choices. Jokic can read the defense so well.
According to Madsen, it also tells about Jokic’s level that even though Europe has a smaller field and a three-second rule, he can still run the game here as well.
One of the NBA’s best defensive centers, the Los Angeles Lakers Anthony Davis had to spin his head at a fast pace when Jokic led the Denver Nuggets to the West winning team with straight wins 4-0.
Jokic also made NBA history as he surpassed Wilt Chamberlain’s single-season playoff triple-double record, which now stands at eight.
– The NBA has a bigger court and generally better players for every position, but that doesn’t seem to be a problem for Jokic either.
Jokic is not very athletic by NBA standards, and you don’t see, for example, handsome dunks from him, do you? Lauri Markkanen able to perform in the best basketball league in the world.
– That’s the thing that bothers me the most. The guy looks a bit not-so-athletic in terms of his body, but he is very aware of his own body and how to use it, even though he is not the fastest or most athletic. He is so smart game-wise that he can use his size and thus dominate the game, Madsen lists.
Basketball should be the playground of fast and athletic players these days. However, Jokic breaks this illusion.
– It’s surprising, but if you think about it more closely, he plays with his own Speed from the basket all the time. He does his own thing, at his own speed. Sometimes when you watch NBA games, you feel like guys are running past him at times, But then Jokic takes a few slow steps, and opponents jump into the air as he makes an easy basket from close. It looks nice when he has his feet still on the floor all the time, Madsen smiles.
The 203-centimeter, often rated as Susijeng’s best defender Mikael Jantunen also occasionally played against Jokic in the European Championships.
– In Susijeng, we usually double big players from the end, but Jokic put a few pretty nice passes into the “pockets” of his friends and the threes were thrown in from there. In a one-on-one situation, he can make a basket against anyone. Jokic is also an excellent rebounder and he can launch a quick attack in an instant, when an accurate pass from the entire court can go out of hand at any time, Jantunen says.
Jokic shows that you can get by in the NBA without athleticism
Jokic has many strengths that he knows how to utilize.
– Sportsmanship is not needed so much when he is so skilled and his game number is among the top five players in the world for sure. He always knows where the opposing defenders stand. When he sends a perfectly timed pass to the right place, it’s quite easy to start playing, Jantunen continues.
Jantunen says that it is almost impossible to predict what Jokic is going to do.
– The passes go in a different direction than where he is looking. It is then also difficult for the assistant defenders. And his throw is nearly impossible to block when it takes off with such a high arc. I may have seen a time or two when his one-foot backward jump shot was blocked under the basket. He does so many things almost perfectly, emphasizes Jantunen.
Jantunen reminded that when Jokic scored almost 30 points per game in the conference finals against the LA Lakers and a triple-double on top of that, it almost always leads the team to victory.
– It’s nice to watch him play. In the morning, when you watch the highlights of Jokic’s match, they are absolutely incredible. And Denver usually wins if he isn’t properly restrained. A unique player, praises Jantunen.
On the basketball court, Jokic mostly moves leisurely but carefully.
– Jokic doesn’t really show emotions on the field, even though we tried to play against him quite hard at times. He was really calm and played the game all the time with his own rhythm. In practice, you can’t even get him out of the rhythm of the game. What I especially remember about his playing is its calmness. Although he may have gone with diesel sometimes, it was still never in a hurry.
Jantunen would take Jokic’s passing skills if he had to choose one characteristic. Madsen, on the other hand, how well Jokic is aware of his own, big man’s body and uses it to his advantage in creating space.
In last fall’s European Championship, Italy surprised Serbia with a dream night of three-pointers in the quarterfinals of the European Championship with a score of 94-86, despite Jokic’s fantastic game (32/13/4s/+11). The Miami Heat also need similar nights if they want to prevent the Serbian and Denver’s championship celebrations.