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Nikola Jokic passes Alex English to become Nuggets' all-time assists leader

The reigning 2-time Kia MVP also becomes the first center in NBA history to lead a franchise in career assists.

Nikola Jokic sets the franchise record for assists in 269 fewer games than the previous record holder, Alex English.

Already the Denver Nuggets all-time leading rebounder, Nikola Jokic passed Hall of Famer Alex English to become the franchise leader in assists on Wednesday night in a 122-118 win against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Jokic recorded his 3,680th career assist in the third quarter on an inbounds pass to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who threw down an uncontested dunk.

Jokic received a standing ovation and his teammates made sure to appreciate the moment.

“We clapped a little bit,” said Jamal Murray. “That’s a lot of passes. That’s pretty impressive.”

English thought so, too.

“I knew that eventually my all time assist record would be broken. I’m honored to see that it’s 2 time, I mean 3 time MVP of the NBA do it. Congrats big fella,” English posted on his Twitter account.

English compiled 3,679 assists in 837 games with the Nuggets. This was Jokic’s 568th career game and he already has three all-time records in Nuggets’ lore: assists, defensive rebounds and total rebounds. Jokic is 10,252 points shy of English’s all-time scoring mark in Denver and is 270 games away from passing English in games played.

Jokic finished with 31 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds as he navigated foul trouble to collect his second straight triple-double. This season, he is averaging 25.1 points, 11 rebounds and 9.9 assists per game, putting him .1 apg shy of becoming the first player to average a triple-double since Russell Westbrook accomplished the feat in 2020-21 as well as in the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons.

Never one to dwell too much on individual accolades, Jokic said he appreciated this particular mark.

“When you have a lot of assists, it just shows that you’re a good team player,” said Jokic, whose teammates plan to sign the ball for him. “That’s something I want to be. I want everybody to remember me as a guy who was a really good team player.”

Regarded as one of the greatest passing big men in NBA history, Jokic is averaging a career-high 9.9 assists this season. And he’s been a tear lately.

“He has a John Stockton kind of mind in a 7-foot body,” Nuggets acting coach David Adelman said after the game.

Jokic has dished out at least 10 assists in three consecutive games and has recorded double digit assists in 11 of his previous 16 games.

He currently ranks second in the NBA in total assists and third in assists per game.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.