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Nikola Jokić (Serbian Cyrillic: Никола Јокић; born February 19, 1995) is a Serbian professional basketball player for the Denver Nuggets of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He also represents the Serbian national basketball team internationally. Standing at 7 ft 0 in (2.13 m), he plays at the center position. He was selected with the 41st overall pick by the Denver Nuggets in the 2014 NBA draft. He received his first All-Star selection in 2019.

Nikola Jokić
Nikola Jokic (40980299891).jpg
Jokić with the Nuggets in 2018
No. 15 – Denver Nuggets
PositionCenter
LeagueNBA
Personal information
Born (1995-02-19) February 19, 1995 (age 24)
Sombor, Serbia, FR Yugoslavia
NationalitySerbian
Listed height7 ft 0 in (2.13 m)
Listed weight250 lb (113 kg)
Career information
NBA draft2014 / Round: 2 / Pick: 41st overall
Selected by the Denver Nuggets
Playing career2012–present
Career history
2012–2015Mega Basket
2015–presentDenver Nuggets
Career highlights and awards
Stats at NBA.com
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com

Contents

Professional careerEdit

Mega Basket (2012–2015)Edit

In the summer of 2012, Jokić signed a contract with Mega Vizura, although in the first season with the team he played mostly for their junior team in 2012–13. In the 2013–14 season, he saw many more minutes on the court for the senior team. Over 25 Adriatic League games, he averaged 11.4 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. He also played 13 games with the team in the Serbian League.

2014–15 season

Following the selection in the 2014 NBA draft and the departure of Ratko Varda, he became one of the team leaders in the 2014–15 season. In the first game of the Adriatic League, he led his team to a 103–98 win over MZT Skopje, by scoring 27 points and grabbing 15 rebounds for a total index rating of 44.[1][2] He was named the MVP of the Round 1.[3] On November 3, he recorded 17 points, 12 rebounds and season-high 8 assists for a total index rating of 40, in a 90–84 victory over Zadar.[4] For such performance, he was named the MVP of the Round 6.[5] On February 7, he scored 27 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in a 77–88 loss to Szolnoki Olaj.[6] He was named the MVP of the Round for the third time in a season.[7] For his performances over the month, he was named the MVP for February, having averaged 21.7 points and 12.3 rebounds per game.[8] On March 21, he scored a season-high 28 points and added 15 rebounds to help his team win with 100–96 over Igokea.[9] He was named the MVP of the Round 26, his fourth Round MVP award over the season.[10] Even though Mega Leks finished in 10th place in the Adriatic League, Jokić became one the league's most valuable players. Over 24 games played, he averaged 15.4 points, league-leading 9.3 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game, while leading the league with the index rating of 22.[11] On March 26, he was officially named the Adriatic League regular season MVP.[12] He was also named the ABA League Top Prospect for the 2014–15 season.[13]

After the elimination by Partizan Belgrade in the semifinals of the Serbian League, Jokić parted ways with the team to pursue an NBA career.[14]

Denver Nuggets (2015–present)Edit

On June 26, 2014, Jokić was selected by the Denver Nuggets with the 41st overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft.[15]

2015–16 seasonEdit

In the summer of 2015, Jokić joined the Denver Nuggets, one season after being drafted. On July 28, 2015, he signed a contract with the Nuggets after averaging 8.0 points and 6.2 rebounds in five summer league games for the team.[16] On November 18, 2015, he had a then season-best game with 23 points and 12 rebounds in a 109–98 loss to the San Antonio Spurs.[17] On January 10, 2016, he recorded a career-high nine assists in a 95–92 win over the Charlotte Hornets.[18] On February 1, he recorded career highs of 27 points and 14 rebounds in a 112–93 win over the Toronto Raptors.[19] On April 8, he set a new career high with 15 rebounds in a 102–98 win over the San Antonio Spurs.[20] At the season's end, he finished third in the 2016 NBA Rookie of the Year Award voting[21] and earned NBA All-Rookie First Team honors.[22]

2016–17 seasonEdit

On October 29, 2016, Jokić recorded 23 points and a career-high 17 rebounds in a 115–113 overtime loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.[23] After starting the first eight games of the season, Jokić was moved to the bench on November 12. He remained coming off the bench for the next 14 games.[24] During that stretch as a bench player, he had a season-high 27 points and 11 rebounds in a 112–92 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on December 12.[25] On December 19, he recorded a near triple-double with 27 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists in a 117–107 win over Dallas.[26] He had another near triple-double on December 28, recording 16 points, a career-high 11 assists and eight rebounds in a 105–103 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.[27] On January 16, 2017, he scored a career-high 30 points in a 125–112 win over the Orlando Magic.[28] He surpassed that mark three days later, scoring 35 points in a 118–104 loss to the San Antonio Spurs.[29] On February 3, 2017, he recorded his first career triple-double with 20 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists in a 121–117 win over the Milwaukee Bucks.[30] On February 10, 2017, he scored a career-high 40 points to lead the Nuggets to a 131–123 victory over the New York Knicks. He went 17 of 23 from the field and added nine rebounds and five assists.[31] Three days later, he set career highs with 12 assists and 21 rebounds to go with 17 points in his second career triple-double in a 132–110 win over the Golden State Warriors.[32] On February 28, 2017, he recorded his third career triple-double with 19 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists in a 125–107 win over the Chicago Bulls.[33] The following night, he had his second straight triple-double and fourth of his career—all within 13 games. He finished with 13 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists in a 110–98 win over the Milwaukee Bucks.[34] On March 16, 2017, he recorded his fifth triple-double of the season with 17 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists in a 129–114 win over the Los Angeles Clippers.[35] On March 31, 2017, he recorded his sixth triple-double of the season with 26 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists in a 122–114 loss to the Charlotte Hornets.[36] Jokić finished the season with a 29-point, 16-rebound, eight-assist effort in a 111–105 season-finale win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on April 12.[37] His six triple-doubles ranked fourth on the season behind Russell Westbrook (42), James Harden (22) and LeBron James (13).[38] At the season's end, he finished second in the 2017 NBA Most Improved Player Award voting,[39] as well as in the 2017 Assist of the Year voting.[40]

2017–18 seasonEdit

On November 7, 2017, Jokić scored a career-high 41 points in a 112–104 win over the Brooklyn Nets.[41] On November 13, he was named Western Conference Player of the Week for games played from Monday November 6 to Sunday November 12. He became the 17th Nugget in franchise history to earn Player of the Week honors and the first since Ty Lawson in March 2013.[42] Jokić had a seven-game absence with a left ankle sprain in early December.[43] On January 8, he had his first triple-double of the season with 22 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists in a 124–114 loss to the Golden State Warriors.[44] On February 15, in a 134–123 win over the Milwaukee Bucks, Jokić recorded 30 points, 15 rebounds and a career-high 17 assists, reaching a triple-double with 1:54 remaining in the second quarter.[45] He recorded the quickest triple-double in NBA history in 14 minutes and 33 seconds, besting Jim Tucker's previous record of 17 minutes from 1955.[46] On February 23, he recorded his third straight triple-double with 28 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in a 122–119 win over the San Antonio Spurs.[47] On March 7, he recorded 36 points and 13 rebounds in a 113–108 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.[48] On March 15, he recorded his eighth triple-double of the season with 23 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists in a 120–113 win over the Detroit Pistons, thus setting the most triple-doubles by a Nuggets player in a season since Fat Lever had nine in 1988–89.[49] On April 1, he had 35 points and 13 rebounds in a 128–125 overtime win over the Bucks.[50] On April 9, he was named Western Conference Player of the Week for games played from Monday April 2 to Sunday April 8, thus earning his second Player of the Week nod for the season.[51] Later that day, he recorded 15 points, a season-best 20 rebounds and 11 assists in an 88–82 win over the Portland Trail Blazers, thus securing his 16th career triple-double and his 10th of the season.[52] In the Nuggets' regular season finale on April 11, 2018, Jokić recorded 35 points and 10 rebounds in a 112–106 overtime loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves. It was his seventh 30-point game of the season. The loss ruled the Nuggets out of the playoffs with a 46–36 record. It was the first final-day play-in game in the NBA in 21 years, with Minnesota also vying for a spot in the playoffs.[53]

2018–19 seasonEdit

On July 9, 2018, Jokić signed a five-year, $148 million maximum contract extension with the Nuggets.[54][55] On October 20, 2018, in the Nuggets' second game of the season, Jokić recorded 35 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists in a 119–91 win over the Phoenix Suns. He joined Wilt Chamberlain as the only players in NBA history to post a triple-double with 30 or more points without missing a field goal—Chamberlain did it twice, in 1966 and 1967.[56] He also became just the second Nugget to record a triple-double in the first two games of the season, joining Fat Lever.[57] Jokić went on to earn Western Conference Player of the Week honors for the first week of the season, becoming the sixth player in franchise history to win the award three or more times, joining Alex English, Dikembe Mutombo, Carmelo Anthony, Allen Iverson and Chauncey Billups.[58] On November 3, he had a season-high 16 assists and 10 rebounds to go with seven points in a 103–88 win over the Utah Jazz.[59] On November 9, he had a season-high 37 points and tied his career best with 21 rebounds in a 112–110 loss to the Brooklyn Nets.[60] For his efforts in 2018, he was recognized as the Serbian Player of the Year by the Basketball Federation of Serbia.[61][62] On January 5, he scored a then season-high 39 points in a 123–110 win over the Charlotte Hornets.[63] His second Player of the Week honor came for games played from December 31 to January 6.[64] On January 8, he had his fourth triple-double of the season with 29 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in a 103–99 win over the Miami Heat.[65] It was his 20th triple-double of NBA career. At age 23, he became the third-youngest player to reach 20 triple-doubles; Oscar Robertson and Magic Johnson were both 22 at the time of their 20th.[66] Two days later, he had 18 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists in a 121–100 win over the Los Angeles Clippers.[67] On January 13, he scored a season-high 40 points in 116–113 win over the Portland Trail Blazers.[68] On January 19, he had his sixth triple-double of the season with 19 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds in a 124–102 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.[69] It was his 22nd career triple-double, thus passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to move to second place on the NBA all-time triple-doubles list by a 7-footer.[70][71] On January 23, he recorded 28 points and 21 rebounds in a 114–108 loss to the Jazz.[72] On January 27, after serving a one-game suspension for leaving the bench during an on-court fracas against the Jazz, Jokić recorded his seventh triple-double with 32 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists in a 126–110 win over the Philadelphia 76ers.[73] On January 31, he received his first All-Star selection as a Western Conference reserve for the 2019 NBA All-Star Game, becoming the Nuggets' first All-Star since Carmelo Anthony in 2011.[74] On February 6, he recorded his 10th triple-double of the season with 25 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists in a 135–130 loss to the Nets.[75] On February 13, he recorded his 12th triple-double of the season with 20 points, 18 rebounds and 11 assists, while also tipping in the game winning shot with 0.3 seconds remaining to lift the Nuggets to a 120–118 win over the Sacramento Kings.[76] His twelve triple-doubles ranked second on the season behind only Russell Westbrook (34).[77]

In Game 1 of the Nuggets' first-round playoff series against the San Antonio Spurs, Jokić became the fourth player in NBA history to record a triple-double in his playoff debut and the first since LeBron James in 2006. He had 10 points, 14 rebounds and 14 assists in a 101–96 loss.[78] In Game 6 of the series, he scored 27 of his 43 points in the second half of the Nuggets' 120–103 loss. He also had 12 rebounds and nine assists.[79] Those 43 points set a franchise record for most points in a playoff game.[80] In Game 7, he helped the Nuggets win the series 4–3 with 21 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists in a 90–86 victory.[81] In Game 1 of the second round, Jokić scored 37 points in a 121–113 win over the Trail Blazers,[82] becoming the first Nuggets player to score 35+ points in a conference semifinals game since Carmelo Anthony (41 points) in May 2009.[83] In Game 3 against Portland, he had 33 points, 18 rebounds and 14 assists in a 140–137 quadruple-overtime loss.[84] In Game 4, he had 21 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists in a 116–112 win.[85] In Game 5, he recorded 25 points and 19 rebounds in a 124–98 win. His 19 rebounds tied a team NBA playoff high.[86] The Nuggets were eliminated from the playoffs following a 100–96 loss to Portland in Game 7, despite Jokić's 29 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks.[87][88] In 14 playoff games, he averaged 25.1 points, 13.0 rebounds and 8.4 assists in 39.7 minutes per game, with shooting splits of 50.6%/39.3%/84.6%.[89] Following the season, he was named to the All-NBA First Team, thus earning selection to his first All-NBA team.[90]

National team careerEdit

Jokić was a member of the Serbian U-19 national basketball team that won the silver medal at the 2013 FIBA Under-19 World Championship. Over eight tournament games, he averaged 7.1 points, 5 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game.[91] He represented Serbia at the 2016 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Belgrade, where he averaged 17.8 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game[92] while earning tournament MVP honors.

At the 2016 Summer Olympics, Serbia won the silver medal, after losing to the United States in the final game 96–66.[93]

On May 24, 2019, Jokić announced he would play for Serbia at the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup.[94]

Career statisticsEdit

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage  3P%  3-point field goal percentage  FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high

NBAEdit

Regular seasonEdit

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2015–16 Denver 80 55 21.7 .512 .333 .811 7.0 2.4 1.0 .6 10.0
2016–17 Denver 73 59 27.9 .577 .324 .825 9.8 4.9 .8 .8 16.7
2017–18 Denver 75 73 32.6 .500 .396 .850 10.7 6.1 1.2 .8 18.5
2018–19 Denver 80 80 31.3 .511 .307 .821 10.8 7.3 1.4 .7 20.1
Career 308 267 28.3 .523 .345 .828 9.6 5.1 1.1 .7 16.3
All-Star 1 0 13.0 .750 .000 .000 9.0 0.0 .0 .0 6.0

PlayoffsEdit

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2019 Denver 14 14 39.8 .506 .393 .846 13.0 8.4 1.1 .9 25.1
Career 14 14 39.8 .506 .393 .846 13.0 8.4 1.1 .9 25.1

Other leaguesEdit

Season Team League GP MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2012–13 Mega Basket Serbian League 5 10.2 .400 .500 .667 2.0 .8 .2 .2 1.8
2013–14 13 24.2 .560 .465 .625 6.0 3.3 1.0 .5 10.9
ABA League 26 25.0 .519 .221 .667 6.4 2.0 .8 1.0 11.5
2014–15 Serbian League 14 27.8 .566 .275 .708 10.4 2.7 1.1 1.1 18.4
ABA League 24 30.5 .503 .346 .667 9.3 3.5 1.5 .9 15.4

Personal lifeEdit

Jokić has two older brothers, Nemanja and Strahinja.[95][96] The younger of the two, Nemanja, played college basketball at the University of Detroit Mercy. Both of them are friends with former NBA player Darko Miličić.[97]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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