It didn’t matter who his teammates were. The Nuggets’ franchise big man has the potential to become a player unlike any we’ve seen in the history of the game. Number to know: Jokic has shot 69.4% in the restricted area, the best mark of his career and the 22nd-best mark among 89 players with at least 200 restricted-area attempts. The Clippers, in a role reversal themselves, don't handle it very well. When he turns back toward Jokic, the ball is already in Barton's hands. That second screen gets Jokic's own man off his body, so that he can establish position in the post. Denver has a similarly high-powered team around Jokic, and it might have to make some equally tough decisions to build an elite squad around its star 7-footer. He can average a triple-double, easily, if he wanted to. Jokic did it at 22 while averaging only 13.5. Jokic, who was all the way down at no. Unlike most big men in NBA history who scored out of the post, Jokic, like Dirk, can initiate offense from the free throw line and the 3-point line, two areas where it’s harder to send help. His teammates covered for him on defense. He has shot 49% in the clutch in each of the last two seasons, and since December of 2018, he's a remarkable 11-for-15 on shots to tie or take the lead in the final minute of the fourth quarter or overtime. “[Jokic] has to be a great position defender. With Adams trailing Jokic around the screen, he curls tight to the basket. The Nuggets need the kinds of athletes around Jokic who can ace NFL SPARQ tests. Over the past few years, though, the increasing number of guards who shoot 3s off the dribble has made that strategy less effective. “Nikola is an emotional player. He shot 39.6 percent from 3 last season on 3.7 attempts per game, way behind guys like DeMarcus Cousins (6.1), Blake Griffin and Kevin Love (5.6). His playmaking. With Shai Gilgeous-Alexander caught in the screen, Nerlens Noel has to switch onto Harris. Vanderbilt could develop into a perfect complement to Denver’s franchise player. Play 1. One advantage to having your best passer also be your leading rebounder and the guy who brings the ball up the floor is if the defense leaves somebody open, no extra action is needed to get him the ball. Finding the Nikola Jokic Blueprint . Play 3. It’s almost impossible to defend a guy his size who plays so fluidly on the perimeter. At 7 feet and 250 pounds, with a 7-foot-3 wingspan, he is the tallest player to ever have a season with those statistical benchmarks, and one of only six players above 6-foot-5 to have done it. Can you name the other? 67 last season. Everything changed the following night against Cleveland. “The sky is the limit. The goal for the Nuggets should be to raise his usage rate as he gets older, like the Mavs did with Dirk. Most elite teams don’t even try crowding the paint on pick-and-rolls in the playoffs. The Nuggets want Jokic to be more sound positionally. Why didn't y'all believe us? Number to know: Murray has attempted 286 pull-up 2-pointers, 10th most in the league, according to Second Spectrum. People around the Nuggets think Jokic has done the same thing, but you would never hear that from him. Among the 67 players who have attempted at least 100 shots in the last six seconds, only Bradley Beal (48.5%) has a higher field goal percentage on those shots than Jokic (48.4%). He’s a better passer, but he’s not as good an athlete as Dirk was at the same age. They would probably have made the playoffs had he played in more than 38 games. They have actually been better defensively with Jokic on the floor, but not nearly good enough. the 12th-best effective field goal percentage overall, were 1-3 in games that were within five in the last five, Film Study: How LeBron leads L.A.'s dominant transition offense, Film Study: How Milwaukee utilizes Giannis on offense, Film Study: How Toronto's defense evolved without Kawhi. Which is one of the best players in the NBA.”. Jokic was in the 45th percentile of players leaguewide when defending the roll man, and the 50th percentile of players when defending the ball handler. His scoring ability puts pressure on the defense. It’s a work in progress.”. Play 2. The Mavs set up in a zone, but don't account for Morris in the left corner. Jokic's 53.4% ranks first. However, as one executive acknowledged to me, the Grit ’N’ Grind era is long over. ESPN’s RPM formula projects him as the most impactful player in the league this season. Vanderbilt, like Porter, was an elite recruit who fell on draft night because of massive injury red flags. Jokic was never supposed to be a franchise player. Nuggets executives have a perfect model in mind: Marc Gasol, who won Defensive Player of the Year at the age of 28 despite not having elite quickness or leaping ability. Now they just need to convince him of that. The most common way the Nuggets get Jokic into the post is with a back-screen from a guard.