The Denver Nuggets blew out the Orlando Magic at the Pepsi Center by a score of 112-87. It was the seventh time in their first 19 games that they kept their opponents under 100 total points. It was the 11th time that the Nuggets scored more than 110 points in a game. Basically, their offense was flowing and their defense was stifling, which is the way the Nuggets need to play to be successful.
Nonetheless, the Nuggets best offensive player, Nikola Jokić, only scored six points. He only attempted seven shots and he was practically ineffective as a scorer against the helpless Magic defense.
Yet, Jokić was still effective on the offensive end with his passing and rebounding abilities. Jokić dished out 11 assists and pulled down three offensive rebounds to keep possessions alive. He finished with a stat line of six points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists along with a few steals. We have seen it time and time again, but can the Nuggets sustain success and not need to score?
It seems that everyone has an opinion in his game
Every single analyst and color commentator has dissected every Jokić’s game explaining what he needs to do to be the best asset for the team. Most think that he needs to score more, and when he only posts single-digit scoring outputs, he is lacking aggression.
While I used to think that was always the case, Jokić has shown time and time again that he does not need to score to be an effective offensive player. There are games that he lacks aggression, those times are minimal. Usually he just understands the flow of the game and he is going to do whatever it takes to help the team win, whether it’s score or pass.
Jokić affects the game in so many other ways than scoring
Jokić is the best passing big man in the league today and very well might become the greatest of all-time. He has incredible court vision and knows his personnel’s strengths. He uses that knowledge and his passing ability to get his teammates in their sweet spots where they become the most effective.
He is the main focal point of the offense whether he shoots the basketball or not. People outside of Denver do not see that his passing stats each and every possession. He usually receives the pass from the guard at the high post and allows the ball handler to set a down screen. This motion allows Michael Malone’s motion offense to flow, and then Jokić plays quarterback and assess his four different reads.
Just that motion puts the defense on their heels. They do not know what Jokić is going to do which becomes his greatest strength. I believe this little bit of mystery allows the Nugget’s offense to be so potent. If every person on the court knew Jokić was most likely going to shoot, then he would become predictable.
The final verdict
Jokić is able to go out their and drop 40+ whenever he wants. He can shoot from deep, the mid-range and he can finish all around the rim. He has great footwork and comfort-ability in the post that he is an opposing centers worst nightmare. Yet, he does not need to showcase that each night to be the most effective player on the court. His passing causes just enough havoc for defenses, so the idea that Jokić needs to score to be effective can be put to rest.
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