Jokic’s unique skill set leads Nuggets to top of Northwest

Nikola Jokic – A point guard in center’s clothing

Nikola Jokic

He may be listed as a center but Nikola Jokic has a lot of point guard in him.

Indeed, at 7 feet and 250 pounds, the Denver Nuggets’ third-year player certainly looks the part of a five but his style of play tells a different story.

At this writing, the 24-year-old Serb had 7.7 assists per game, good enough for sixth most in the NBA and first among big men. It also put him on track to have the highest per-game assist average in a season of any player taller than 6-feet, 10-inches not named Wilt Chamberlain. And he recently he passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for second-most triple doubles ever recorded by an NBA center. That’s pretty heady company to be in for such a young player.

When you watch him on the court, he certainly has the look of a one, with his slick ball-handling, his no-look passes and his seemingly 360-degree vision of the action unfolding around him. But the center skills are also in evidence, as his rebounding (10.0 per game, tied for 16th) and his ability to set screens confirm. And he can score, averaging 19.6 points. That’s a pretty unique and impressive skill set.

His play leads a Nuggets offense that is fifth in the league. On the season, Denver sits atop the Northwest Division with the second-best record in the Western Conference.

Jokic and the Nuggets can be seen in action Tuesday, Feb. 26, when they host the division rival Oklahoma City Thunder in a game airing on TNT.

Nikola Jokic

Name: Nikola Jokic

Birth date: Feb. 19, 1995

Birthplace: Sombor, Serbia

Height/weight: 7 feet/250 pounds

Teams: Mega Leks (2012-15); Denver Nuggets (2015-present)

College: none

Draft: Selected second round (41st overall) by the Nuggets in 2015

Position: center

No.: 15

Honors and achievements: Adriatic League Top Prospect (2015); Adriatic League MVP (2015); NBA All-Rookie First Team (2016); Serbian Basketball Player of the Year (2018)

George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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