Season Review: Nikola Jokic
Even Nikola Jokić himself didn’t expect what happened this season.
"I didn't expect to play this good," Jokić said. "I just wanted to play hard.”
He played hard and played well. In 21.7 minutes per game in the 2015-16 season, he averaged 10.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1.0 steals per game. Jokić played 80 games and finished third in rebounds, fourth in blocks, seventh in assists, and eighth in points amongst all rookies. He was also selected to the Rising Stars Challenge during the NBA All-Star Weekend, alongside fellow rookie Emmanuel Mudiay.
“The Joker” has already shown glimpses of the player he may become. On Feb. 1, he posted a career-high 27 points, 14 rebounds, and four assists in a win against the Toronto Raptors. He followed that up with another excellent performance, tallying 23 points, 13 rebounds and four assists against the Boston Celtics on Feb. 21.
Jokić steadily got better. In April, he averaged a double-double with 11.6 points, 10.8 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 1.2 blocks.
Nuggets Coach Michael Malone praised his rookie’s progress.
“The fact that he took advantage of the opportunity, which means he was mentally and physically engaged and ready to go. It’s great to see somebody at his age. It gets you excited. If this is where he’s at now, and then you think about where he can get.”
That’s a scary thought for the rest of the league.