Nikola Jokic earned the admiration of basketball fans and peers in the NBA. He’s the prototype European big that every team would want: high IQ, great passing ability, decent shooter and can dominate the game in various ways. So it’s not surprising he got a fan in Bill Walton, who appreciates The Joker’s game and what he brings to the table.
High praise for Jokic
When the Top 75 players in NBA history were announced, players past and present got a chance to mingle behind the cameras and on the court. According to Denver Post, Walton was ecstatic, not from meeting his peers and rivals but from meeting Nikola Jokic.
“I was thrilled to be able to say hello to him because I’m a huge fan, and I’m so grateful for the way he plays because it represents the best of the human spirit in terms of inclusion, in terms of opportunity, team, sacrifice, discipline. He’s just really, really great. He is brilliant. The imagination, he is a creative genius, and he sees things that other people don’t see. His sense of timing and skill and position and balance and all the things that I love in life, he just represents it.”
Those were high praises for anyone coming from Bill Walton, a legend of the game himself. Walton probably sees the younger version of himself, a big who could do all sorts of things equally well on the court.
Does Jokic deserve to be named in the Top 75 list?
Bill was included in the Top 75 list of NBA. Does Jokic deserve to be included, too? There were some arguments that Dwight Howard should have gotten in over Damian Lillard. Meanwhile, Nikola certainly has a strong case: league MVP, 2-time All-NBA Team member, and 4-time All-Star selection under his belt. The only missing piece is an NBA title, and with the way he is playing this conference, the Denver Nuggets are in a position to make a deeper run in the playoffs despite missing key players in Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr.
The Joker is only among the three centers to average 25-plus points, 10-plus rebounds, and 5-plus assists in the history of the NBA, along with Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The Denver Nuggets star is also 7th in the all-time triple-double list of the NBA, only behind LeBron James and Russell Westbrook among active players. If he keeps this up and wins a title or two, we can expect Jokic to be included in the next greatest list of the league.