The Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic Is the Best Passing Big Man in the NBA

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty Images)

Nikola Jokic did it again.

As the young Denver Nuggets big man has done several times this year, he made sure the best pass in the NBA on Tuesday night belonged to a center.

I mean, just look at this gorgeous, shiny dime to rookie Jamal Murray against the Sacramento Kings.

He places the rock just out of reach of defender Omri Casspi, and leads Murray right into a fairly simple layup.

Get ready to see a lot more of this from the 21-year-old Serbian nicknamed Big Honey. After a battle for minutes with Jusuf Nurkic early in the season, Jokic has grabbed the reins of the starting center spot and the Nuggets offense.

Since being re-inserted into the starting lineup 10 games ago, the second-year player is averaging 17.1 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 5.5 assists. Perhaps more amazing is how efficiently he accumulated those numbers: He shot 63.4 percent from the floor in that span—which is a number often attained by one or two pick-and-roll divers a year, but almost never by a plodding, back-to-the-back creator like Jokic (who is also a great free-throw shooter)—and only turned it over 2.1 times a game, giving him an assist-to-turnover ratio most point guards envy.

Oh, and he's already a 33.3 percent career three-point shooter. Not exactly lights out, but useful for a center and likely to improve.

Even scarier—during this 10-game stretch, he only played 26 minutes per game due to foul trouble (3.7 fouls per in that span). If and when he learns to avoid foul trouble and stay on the floor long enough to play 30+ minutes a night, Big Honey should be an All-Star multiple times over. (In the same time, he's averaged over 7.6 assists per 36 minutes.)

Here's but a small sampling of Jokic's best dimes from his one-and-a-half-year career.

With lots of respect to guys like Marc Gasol, Blake Griffin, Draymond Green, and DeMarcus Cousins, Jokic is already the best passing big man in the best basketball league in the world (LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo—athletic wings so big and strong they could be classified as "big men"—don't count).

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