Denver Nuggets: Can Nikola Jokic build a legacy to rival LeBron James?

Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets warms up before the game against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena on 16 Mar. 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets warms up before the game against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena on 16 Mar. 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

Nikola Jokic, at 27-years-old, is gunning for back-to-back MVP performances and has the Denver Nuggets in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race as the sixth seed. He’s leading the Nuggets in points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, and field goal percentage. Jokic is also first in PER, first in win shares, first in BPM and first in VORP.

Jokic has been ultra-efficient, with the highest field goal percentage on two-pointers in NBA history among 25-plus points per game seasons.

If Jokic does wind up taking home the hardware in 2022 he will have exactly half as many MVP awards as LeBron James, who has accomplished back-to-back MVP honors twice in his career.

The King’s five-year stretch of dominance from 2009 to 2013 might have been some of the best individual basketball we will ever see in the NBA, and Jokic seems to be taking it as a challenge. During James’ five-year run, he was named on the first All-Defenive team for all five of them. The way Jokic has been rebounding the ball this year, he should have a shot at being named to that prestigious crew for the 2022 season as well.

A Larry O’Brien trophy is proving to be elusive for Big Honey in Denver similar to how James found it hard to get his hands on one in his first go-’round with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Nuggets fans are hoping a change of scenery is not in the cards for Joker, and that he can find a way to get it done with the team that selected him with the 41st pick in the 2014 NBA draft instead of taking his talents elsewhere.

Jokic has a long way to go in order to match the laundry list of accomplishments James has strung together in his twenty-year NBA career, but he’s off to a solid start establishing himself as one of the greatest athletes to throw on a Denver Nuggets uniform.

Denver is hoping for help in the form of max player Michael Porter Jr. and the electric Jamal Murray as they recover from their respective back and knee injuries in order for Big Soul to really take the Mile High City to new heights. If Denver starts getting their most important pieces back, a shot at a title becomes more realistic for Jokic believers.

The King landed his first MVP title at the age of 25, and Jokic was only 26 when he took home the trophy for the first time, so the idea that Jokic can do something similar to what James has done is not completely out of the question, although some of the numbers the 37-year-old product out of Akron has put up seem untouchable.

King James is top class, and often referred to as a top-five candidate when sculpting an NBA Mt. Rushmore with what he’s been able to accomplish, but Jokic is no stranger to moving mountains.

With the Los Angeles Lakers set to miss the playoffs in 2022, many are speculating and wondering how LeBron will cap off his spectacular NBA career, especially with his young son Bronny James coming of age and eyes shifting to where James will decide to play.

Meanwhile, Joker stays in the lab perfecting his craft and continuing to pile up eye-popping stats as he build his own case for G.O.A.T.

It’s been wonderful watching both athletes take their games to the next level and even if Jokic is not quite able to accomplish everything King James has, the path he’s on is outstanding and at least puts Jokic in the conversation for now as long as he keeps playing like this. If Denver wins a title with Jokic driving the ship, then the conversation will be blown wide open looking forward.

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