A look at the strong play of Nikola Jokic, plus three players to eye on your waiver wire this weekend
POSTED: Feb 4, 2016 5:08 PM ET
Denver rookie Nikola Jokic is wreaking havoc against opposing frontcourts this season.
Towns, the No. 1 overall pick, was expected to dominate right away for the Timberwolves. But Jokic? No one expected much this season from the No. 41 pick of the 2014 Draft out of Serbia. Yet here we are.
Since mid-January, Jokic is averaging 13.4 points on 54.2 percent from the field, 7.0 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 2.0 steals and 0.7 blocks in just 24.6 minutes as the Nuggets' starting center. He has four double-doubles during this span, including three straight from January 28 - February 1. His steals are the most impressive stat of the bunch as Jokic ranks first among centers since January 17 ahead of Marc Gasol, DeMarcus Cousins and Nerlens Noel despite playing much fewer minutes. His all-around game has quickly earned the attention and respect of his head coach, Mike Malone.
"I mean you can talk about some of these very young bigs who are very talented, the kid in New York, Minnesota, Philly, I don't know any of their names," Malone said after Jokic dominated for 27 points, 14 rebounds and four assists in 30 minutes in a win over Toronto on Monday. "I know this kid's name, though. I know Nikola Jokic and I wouldn't trade him for anybody in the world.
"He's a special young man, he's a special young talent and he's only going to get better as he continues to get stronger, learn the NBA, finishing around the basket, defensively. But he's a heck of a young talent."
If you grabbed Jokic off the waiver wire earlier this season, congrats. You have one of the most versatile big men on your roster who will likely continue to improve and receive more minutes in Denver over the final few months. If you missed the chance to pick up Jokic, now could be a good time to try to pry him from a buddy's team if they aren't paying attention to how good he has become.
Stat Line Of The Week
Nightly Notable: Stephen Curry
Stephen Curry scores 51 points, including 11 three-pointers to lead the Warriors to victory.
February 3 vs. Washington - 51 points (19-28 FG, 11-16 3P, 2-3 FT), 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals in 36 minutes
The Pistons rookie will see plenty of playing time over the next few weeks with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (groin) out. Caldwell-Pope ranks third in minutes per game this season (36.9) so there will be plenty of opportunity for Johnson. Over his last five games, Johnson is averaging 13.8 points on 42.9 percent shooting, 4.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 28.2 minutes. Give him a look this weekend and for as long as Caldwell-Pope is out. The Pistons matchup with the Pacers on Saturday.
Another Johnson makes our list as the Clippers' forward has carved out a solid role in L.A. Over his last five games, Johnson is averaging 10.8 points on 42.6 pecent shooting, 2.4 3-pointers, 2.6 rebounds and 2.4 steals in 24.1 minutes. He's racking up steals and 3-pointers at a great rate and he's worth an add this weekend if you need either of those stats. The Clippers matchup with the
The Hornets' big man is back after missing time with a shoulder injury. He posted six points, seven rebounds, two assists and a block in 28 minutes during his return on Wednesday and should receive similar minutes going forward. He's worth a look if you need rebounds this weekend. The Hornets matchup with the Heat on Friday and the Wizards on Saturday.