Skip to main content

How Jokić's "worst game ever" brought him to Denver


Nikola Jokić is widely considered the best passing big man of all time. That's high praise when you think of guys like Bill Walton and, for those of us who've seen his European games, Arvydas Sabonis. Jokić is an offense to himself, a part of the elite group of players who can't be stopped - you only hope you can slow him down. His journey to the NBA is Hollywood stuff, and as with every good story, it involved a little bit of luck.

First of all, a quick reminder that there was a legit Jokić vs. Nurkić discussion in Denver when they had both of these guys on the roster. Nurk also had a fantastic season before his unfortunate injury, and for a while, it wasn't clear who was getting traded.

As we now know, the Nuggets made the right choice. They looked beyond the (lack of) athletic ability and saw a transcendent player. (also, props to Denver's front office - they obviously have an eye for European players.) While his tremendous performances kept Nikola in Denver, a horrible one brought him there.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

We had a deal in place with Barcelona. Then the unfortunate thing happened, well, very fortunate as it turned out. The last game before signing with Barcelona, Nikola played against Barcelona. That wasn't bad, that was the worst ever.

Miodrag Miško Ražnatović, Nedeljnik

Nikola had such a lousy game that Barcelona decided to postpone the contract signing. Current Bulls GM Arturas Karnisovas, working in Denver's front office at the time, got involved, suggested the possibility that Nikola goes directly to Denver and the rest is history.

It may have been luck Nikola had such a bad game just before he was supposed to sign a contract with Barca. But you have to put yourself in a position to get lucky, and that's exactly what Denver did. Their draft record speaks for itself, with the 41st pick of the 2014 NBA Draft as their crown jewel.

Wiggins has been phenomenal on defense throughout this series, but he turned the tables in Game 3 with a stellar offensive outing

Andrew Wiggins's vicious dunk on Luka Doncic brings Golden State Warriors close to the NBA Finals: "I just saw rim”

Wiggins has been phenomenal on defense throughout this series, but he turned the tables in Game 3 with a stellar offensive outing

Doc Rivers nearly left the Clippers for the Lakers

Doc Rivers once nearly left the Los Angeles Clippers for the Los Angeles Lakers

If Doc Rivers did end up moving to the Lakers, would they have beaten their opponents the way they did in 2020? No one knows, but it's fair to say Frank Vogel was the better coach in the Bubble.

Difference between Jimmy Butler and Ja Morant

Difference between Jimmy Butler and Ja Morant -- one soldiers on while the other whines about dirty plays

Jimmy Butler and Ja Morant received the same borderline dirty fouls that resulted in injuries. But their reactions were different from one another.


Pete Maravich shares who is the greatest basketball player of all time

"He is not really the best passer, I don't think, he's not the best dribbler, he's not the best shooter, he's not the best scorer. He's just the very best."

From being undrafted to a Playoff starter: The journey of Miami Heat guard Max Strus for everyone

From being undrafted to a Playoff starter: Max Strus' NBA journey is a lesson for everyone

Miami Heat are the only team that decided to gamble on Max Strus, and safe to say that ended up paying dividends


Skip Bayless's wife is a fan of LeBron James: "I would like to meet him"

You know this one hurts deep for the most notorius LeBron hater out there.

LaVar Ball wants Kyrie Irving to join the Big Baller Brand

LaVar Ball invites Kyrie Irving to join Big Baller Brand: "You can have all the control you want!"

As Nike and Kyrie Irving appear to head in different ways, Lavar Ball uses this opportunity to lure the Brooklyn Nets star and join the Big Baller Brand.

Trae Young reacts to Ben Simmons passing up the wide open layup against him

Trae Young defends Ben Simmons for passing up the layup on him: "I hate how people talk about how bad of a player he is"

It's comical to think Ben Simmons got intimidated by Trae Young but the Atlanta Hawks point guard offers a different view on why the Philadephia 76ers forward passed up on a wide-open attempt.