Nikola Jokic captured the attention and respect of the basketball world last spring as he spearheaded the Denver Nuggets run to their first NBA championship.
Amongst those that Jokic impressed is the logo himself, Jerry West. West gushed over the big man during a recent appearance on the Rich Eisen Show, even comparing him to Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James.
“He’s just amazing,” West said. “He really is… He’s just one of those players that if you watch him play, he’ll score 10 points, and he’ll have 15 or 20 rebounds, 12 assists, but you have to watch him carefully around the basket and some of the shots that he makes… He’s got the greatest pair of hands of any inside player. He is like LeBron James. The brilliance of him as a player, but more importantly his mind, his mind makes everyone better. These things rub off on your teammates… These kind of players are rarities, and that’s why they’re so highly coveted.”
Jokic — of course — was named NBA Finals MVP, after leading the way as the Nuggets took down the Miami Heat in just five games. He averaged 30.2 points, 14.0 rebounds, and 7.2 assists per game while shooting an efficient 58.3% from the field and 42.1% from beyond the arc.
Nikola Jokic’s brilliance has the Denver Nuggets slated as NBA Title Favorites
The dominant display from the Serbian as the Denver Nuggets raised their first Larry O’Brien trophy, gave West good reason to compare him to James — one of the more dominant players in recent history.
James’ consistent onslaught of unreal performances helped him and his various teammates reach eight straight NBA Finals from 2011-2018.
Jokic’s impressive showing last spring has oddsmakers feeling like he may be able to help the Nuggets repeat as champions in the 2023-24 season.
According to DraftKings sportsbook, Denver is the favorite to win the title next season with +475 odds. Right behind them are the Boston Celtics with their odds set at +500.