Nikola Jokić joins exclusive All-NBA list for Denver Nuggets

by Eric Spyropoulos
Staff Writer
@EricSpyrosNBA

Coming off a season in which he averaged 20.1 points, 10.8 rebounds and 7.3 assists per game while leading the Denver Nuggets to a 54-28 record, Nikola Jokić has been selected as a member of the All-NBA first team.

Jokić, who also made his first All-Star team this past season, now joins a select group of players to make an All-NBA team while wearing a Nuggets jersey. The Serbian big man is the seventh player in Nuggets franchise history to make an All-NBA team and is the first player to do so since Carmelo Anthony in the 2009-10 campaign.

Jokić is also the first Nuggets player to make the All-NBA first team since David Thompson did back in the 1977-78 season. Thompson averaged 27.2 points on 52.1 percent shooting from the field as he led Denver to the 1978 Western Conference Finals. That season also included Thompson’s legendary 73-point performance against the Detroit Pistons on April 9, which is tied for the fourth-highest scoring game in league history.

Jokić is now just the second player in franchise history to be selected to the All-NBA first team.

Thompson made the All-NBA first team twice during his Nuggets career, as he also made the prestigious list during Denver’s first season in the NBA (1976-77). Thompson made his mark on the NBA after jumping from the ABA, as he averaged over 25 points, four rebounds and four assists per game.

Alex English was the next Nuggets player to make an All-NBA team, as he made the second team on three occasions during his decade-long tenure with the Nuggets (1981-82, 1982-83 and 1985-86). During the 1982-83 season, English led the league in scoring at 28.4 points per game and made a second-consecutive appearance on the All-NBA second team.

Fat Lever made his lone appearance on an All-NBA team during the 1986-87 season after he averaged 18.9 points, 8.9 rebounds and eight assists per game, which placed him on the second team. Lever and English were the driving forces for a Nuggets team that made the postseason nine years in a row during the 1980s.

Antonio McDyess had an impressive 1998-99 season with the Nuggets, as he averaged 21.2 points, 10.7 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game. As a result, McDyess made the All-NBA third team. McDyess blossomed as a member of the Nuggets, as he went on to be an All-Star during the 2000-2001 season.

Carmelo Anthony has the most All-NBA appearances in Nuggets history, and he first made the third team in 2005-06. As Anthony continued to develop as a player, the Nuggets returned to the playoffs for ten-consecutive seasons, beginning in 2003-04. Anthony made the All-NBA third team three times during his stint with the Nuggets (2005-06, 2006-07 and 2008-09) and made the All-NBA second team in 2009-10.

However, Anthony wasn’t the only Nuggets player to make an All-NBA team during the team’s 2008-09 season that culminated in a trip to the Western Conference Finals. After joining the Nuggets from the Detroit Pistons in November 2008, Chauncey Billups went on to have a strong season for Denver as he averaged 17.9 points and 6.4 assists per game. Billups was rewarded with an appearance on the All-NBA third team, joining his teammate as the leaders of the 54-win Nuggets.

With Jokić just turning 24-years-old back in February, the Nuggets have a franchise centerpiece moving forward for years to come. Hopefully for Denver, that will result in many more All-NBA appearances for their star big man.

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