1. Jokic brings a big tool box to the garage
The Phoenix Suns assume that spot now, with their last All-Star pick being Hall of Famer Steve Nash in 2012.
Jokic hasn’t exceeded expectations — he’s obliterated them. The Nuggets drafted Jokic 41st overall in 2014, the same year they traded for 16th overall pick Jusuf Nurkic as their center of the future.
But since coming to Denver in 2015, Jokic has firmly entrenched himself as Denver’s centerpiece, The club felt good enough about Jokic that they dealt Nurkic to the Portland Trail Blazers at the trade deadline two years ago and have never looked back.
The Nuggets re-signed Jokic to a max extension in July and he’s rewarded them with his best season to date, averaging 20.1 points, 10.4 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game.
What makes Jokic unique among NBA centers today is that he is the best play-making big since Bill Walton was winning an NBA MVP award for Portland in 1977-78.
Jokic is sixth in the NBA — overall, not just among bigs — with an average of 7.7 assists per game. He is the league’s only point center and that makes him extremely difficult to defend.
At a massive 7-feet and 250 pounds, Jokic can bang on the low block with the best of them, but he’s just as comfortable above the break running a pick-and-roll as the ball-handler.
The only crimp in his armor this season has been his dramatically reduced effectiveness as a deep shooter. After hitting a career-high 39.6 percent on 3.7 attempts per game last season from 3-point range, Jokic has fallen off to just 30.3 percent this season on 3.6 attempts a night.
His scoring is up even as his playing time is down, Jokic is averaging 31.3 minutes per game this season as opposed to 32.6 minutes in 2017-18.
The native of Serbia have Brooklyn all it could handle in the teams’ first meeting this season on Nov. 9 at Denver, scoring 37 points on 14-of-22 shooting and matched his career-high with 21 rebounds in Brooklyn’s 112-110 victory.
Jokic did commit six turnovers and was in foul trouble for large chunks of the game … and still put up 37 and 21.
Jarrett Allen will have his hands full on Wednesday night.