Nikola Jokic is among the early frontrunners for this season’s MVP award, as the Nuggets big man is off to a sensational start, averaging 26.8 points, 11.8 rebounds, 8.6 assists, and 1.8 steals per game on ridiculous efficiency, shooting 57.4 percent from the field and 38.4 percent from three-point range.
The other top contenders right now seem to be Joel Embiid and LeBron James, the latter of whom Jokic and the Nuggets will face on Thursday night in a marquee matchup of two of the West’s best teams. Jokic’s passing ability and court vision is among the best in the league, regardless of position, and that attribute has drawn comparisons to the likes of LeBron, who is likewise a preternatural passer of the ball. On Wednesday, Jokic was asked about the similarities in his game to that of James’, which was clearly meant to be about his passing and floor generalship, but Nikola used as an opportunity to have some fun.
Nikola Jokic on how he and LeBron are similar: “Athleticism. Quickness. I don't know if he can jump as high as me.”
— Nick Kosmider (@NickKosmider) February 3, 2021
It’s a hysterical retort, as Jokic never misses an opportunity to have some fun in his press conferences. Jokic, of course, is not exactly known for being fleet of foot, but I do think it’s fair to say his athletic abilities are underrated at this point. He’s certainly not LeBron James, but he can get up and down the floor and, on occasion, will throw down a big dunk just to remind folks he can. Still, his game is known for being floor-bound, using cunning, guile, and immense skill and touch to do his damage, not through sheer physical force of will.