Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic has found himself amid a complex debate, dealing with perceptions of his value and the persisting “buy or sell” question. Jokic, however, remains a clear choice to many despite the divisive opinion landscape in the NBA.
The perspective that Jokic is undervalued is one Nuggets head coach Michael Malone vehemently opposes. Malone argues that Jokic is, in fact, a top-tier NBA player. The level of appreciation and recognition for Jokic is not debatable; he is a supreme talent and an irreplaceable component of the Denver Nuggets. If polled, a vast majority of NBA analysts would rank him at least second on their list of current best players in the league, perhaps even before the outcome of the NBA Finals.
Jokic’s role has never been more important, especially considering his exceptional playoff performance. NBA players are often gauged by their ability to elevate their gameplay during the postseason, a challenge that Jokic has more than risen to. Following the Nuggets’ conference finals appearance in the bubble, they experienced back-to-back playoff eliminations. Despite the absence of Jamal Murray, these exits were still underwhelming.
However, Jokic’s statistical dominance in recent years has been an inspiring change of pace. In the past three playoff years coming into 2023, he averaged under six assists per game, but now, he’s boasting a triple-double average, flirting with 30 points per game. His performance in the series against the Phoenix Suns, in particular, remains one of the most impressive showcases in recent memory.
There has been an ongoing debate around Nikola Jokic’s standing in the NBA, with some advocating for immediate recognition of his greatness and others calling for a methodical validation process. Regardless, Jokic has been steadily ticking off all the boxes on his way to the top.
He’s far from being underrated. For many, Nikola Jokic is not just the best player on the Denver Nuggets roster but arguably the best player in the NBA. Heading into the NBA Finals, he’s a favorite to maintain his triple-double average (-120), a favorite to win Finals MVP (-160), and his team is the favorite to win it all (-130). It’s safe to say he’s not lacking the respect he rightly deserves.
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