Nikola Jokic is slowly but surely becoming a star in the NBA. The Denver Nuggets are currently sitting in the first place in the western conference while being one of the biggest surprises this season. A big part of Denver's success was without a doubt "The Joker" who has positioned himself as the best center in the league.
He can do pretty much anything on the court and has shown exceptional skillset with either passing, scoring or rebounding. Bill Walton is another great all-time center who sees the beauty in Jokic's style of play. Walton is also well known as a very outspoken player who can embellish pretty much anything and it wasn't any difference when they asked him about Jokic.
“He’s a beautiful player who plays a mental game. He has what seems to have been lost in the world, which is a peripheral vision. When you walk down the street in life, when you drive a car in life, when you ride a bike in the world on a street, it is staggering the lack of peripheral vision. But Nikola Jokic is the antidote to so many of our problems in the world.”
Walton would continue to compare Nikola Jokic to the likes of Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, and Mahatma Gandhi in a sense of someone who is the future of basketball and the world itself.
“When you see someone like a Nelson Mandela or a Martin Luther King or a Mahatma Gandhi, someone who sees the future before anyone else does, knows how to get to where they need to be, where they want to be, that is Nikola Jokic. Happiness begins when selfishness ends. In a game that has been taken over by incessant dribbling for yourself, Nikola Jokic is such a breath of fresh air. And it’s his imagination. Watching him play basketball is like watching Bob Dylan come up with a song.”
Walton also gave an interesting comparison of Nikola Jokic with none other than Steve Nash because of the many similar elements their style of plays has. Walton enjoyed watching Steve Nash play and now he is absorbing everything Nikola Jokic does on a nightly basis.
“He epitomizes Coach Wooden’s most oft-repeated mantra to us, which was, ‘Basketball, like life, is not a game of size and strength. It’s a game of skill and timing and positioning. It’s not how big you are, it’s how big you play. It’s not how high you jump, it’s where you are and when you jump.’ Nikola’s a complete package of skill, timing and positioning, but even more importantly, he has so many elements of Steve Nash in his game. With Steve, there’s never been a player in my life who has elicited more awe and elicited more inspiration in terms of, ‘Oh my gosh, did you just see that?’ Nikola has a lot of that in him.”
With season averages of 18 points, 10 rebounds and over 7 assists per game, Jokic has positioned himself as the best center in the league. What is also scary is that he is only 23 years old and he has the ability to improve even more in an upcoming couple of years. At the moment, Denver is looking really good and they have the legitimate chances to make it far this season based on everything they showed as a team so far. Nikola Jokic will be an important cornerstone for that success and if they finish with one of the best records in the NBA, he might even win the MPV award.