The Denver Nuggets have a very improved defense, but statistically speaking, the best defender on the team has shockingly been Nikola Jokic.
Nikola Jokic came into this season looking to ride off the momentum he established last season. Everyone knew how much of an offensive juggernaut he is, but the one area of his game which was lacking was his defense.
Well, so far this season, it looks as if this part of his game is finally improving which has made him even more of a threat. How good you ask? So good he is statistically the Nuggets’ best defender right now. Yes, you read that correctly. So far, Jokic has a defensive rating of 101 and is averaging 1.5 steals per game along with 0.6 blocks per game per basketball-reference.com.
Now, compare this to Denver’s premier defender, Gary Harris. Harris is averaging 1.8 steals per game, 0.4 blocks per game and a defensive rating of 107. Not bad numbers for the Joker at all. Jokic has done a decent job guarding physical bigs this season as well. He was able to hold his own recently against Oklahoma City’s center, Steven Adams and did a solid job containing other big men such as Hassan Whiteside.
Jokic may not exactly be stuffing players left and right, but he has done a good job getting a nice handful of steals and limiting his oppositions numbers while guarding them. If Jokic can keep up this level of defensive play, then he will be well on his way to being a great two way player. This is scary considering how effective Jokic is already as an offensive threat which would be a nightmare for the rest of the NBA.
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The Nuggets are lucky Jokic is growing and evolving as a player and if he keeps up this level of play on defense, then the sky is the limit.