Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic is a once-in-a-generation type player and someone who has no clear past comparison as a while in terms of skill, passing, shooting and physique. He is in midst of his best season averaging career highs in points at just shy of 27 points, 11 rebounds, and an impressive 8.5 assists.
However, even Gregg Popovich in the past has alluded to Jokic as “a reincarnation of Larry Bird“. The round physique, coupled with sub-par athleticism immediately makes us see the visual similarities between the two respective players. So let’s see how the numbers stack up.
At the age of 25, Larry Bird was into only his third NBA season averaging an impressive 23 points, 11 rebounds, and nearly six assists with two steals per game. This led Larry Bird to his third straight All-Star appearance coincidently, age 25 is Jokic’s third consecutive All-Star appearance too.
Both players were phenomenal passers of the basketball and even though none of them are point guards both their respective teams ran their offensive through them as they were once in a generation type passers and players.
Nikola Jokic and Larry Bird have this beauty that applies to both of their games which almost makes it seem like they are conducting a basketball 101 class out on the court. Their decision making skills are sublime from the top of the arc, low post, the wing and just pretty much anywhere on the court. Mix in the fact that both of them are great shooters it creates a defensive nightmare for opposing defenses.
The key difference however from their respective seasons at the age of 25 is that Larry Bird led the Celtics to the first seed in the East with a record of 63-19. The Denver Nuggets currently are placed in the eighth seed in the west however obviously this is not all on Jokic’s shoulders.
If Jokic can build on this season past the All-Star break and the Nuggets start winning games consistently the MVP award is certainly not out of the question.