There’s something inspiring about watching Nikola Jokic play basketball. He does not look like someone who should be an elite professional athlete — outside of being a seven-footer, Jokic is a doughy, tired-looking guy who, when a basketball game starts, is capable of ripping your heart out and stomping on it with the weirdest game possessed by any superstar in the league.
Yes, Jokic is a superstar. But that distinction also might not go far enough in emphasizing just how good he is. Jokic is the best player on a team that, up until they got obliterated by the Golden State Warriors earlier this month, sat atop the Western Conference despite Gary Harris, Paul Millsap, and Will Barton all missing extended time due to injuries. If he was doing this sort of thing on a team with a bigger national profile than the Nuggets — which have played in four nationally televised games this season (their fifth is on Wednesday night, at least!) — Jokic’s name would pop up more prominently in All-Star and, yes, MVP discussion than we’ve seen.
Which begs the question: How on earth did the guy who (justifiably!) inspired this tweet turn into a potential All-NBA center for a team with legitimate championship aspirations?
Well, the answer is basically that Jokic is awfully good at essentially every basketball skill, even if not possessing all of the athletic abilities that we typically ascribe to elite basketball players. He is as skilled of a big man as the NBA has ever seen, which certainly seems like a hyperbolic statement, but you should not be able to do this sort of thing as a slow-footed seven footer.