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Jokić with the Denver Nuggets in 2020, about to shoot a free throw.
|No. 15 – Denver Nuggets|
|Born||February 19, 1995|
Sombor, Serbia, FR Yugoslavia
|Listed height||6 ft 10 in (2.08 m)|
|Listed weight||250 Ibs (113 kg)|
|NBA Draft||2014 / Round: 2 / Pick: 41st overall|
|Playing career||2014–present (7 years)|
|Career highlights and awards|
He is a three-time NBA All-Star who has been named to the All-NBA Team twice (including a first-team selection) and has won the NBA Most Valuable Player Award for the 2020-21 NBA season. He also represents the Serbian national team.
Nicknamed "the Joker", Jokić was selected by the Nuggets in the second round of the 2014 NBA draft. He was voted to the NBA All-Rookie First Team in 2016. In the 2018–19 NBA season, while leading the Nuggets to the Western Conference Semifinals, he received his first All-Star and All-NBA First Team selections. In the following season, he once again received All-Star and All-NBA honors, while leading his team to the Western Conference Finals. Jokić ranks among the top 10 on the all-time list of the NBA players with the most triple-doubles, where he is the leading European player, and he holds the record for fastest triple-double (achieved in 14 minutes and 33 seconds). He also won an Olympic silver medal at the 2016 Rio Games.
- 1 Professional career
- 1.1 Mega Basket (2012–2015)
- 1.2 Denver Nuggets (2015–present)
Mega Basket (2012–2015)
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.
Denver Nuggets (2015–present)
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. 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. On January 10, 2016, he recorded a career-high nine assists in a 95–92 win over the Charlotte Hornets. On February 1, he recorded career highs of 27 points and 14 rebounds in a 112–93 win over the Toronto Raptors. On April 8, he set a new career high with 15 rebounds in a 102–98 win over the San Antonio Spurs. At the season's end, he finished third in the 2016 NBA Rookie of the Year Award voting and earned NBA All-Rookie First Team honors.
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. 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. 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. On December 19, he recorded a near triple-double with 27 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists in a 117–107 win over Dallas. 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. On January 16, 2017, he scored a career-high 30 points in a 125–112 win over the Orlando Magic. He surpassed that mark three days later, scoring 35 points in a 118–104 loss to the San Antonio Spurs. 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. 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. 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.
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. 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. 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. 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. 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. His six triple-doubles ranked fourth on the season behind Russell Westbrook (42), James Harden (22) and LeBron James (13). At the season's end, he finished second in the 2017 NBA Most Improved Player Award voting as well as in the 2017 Assist of the Year voting.
On November 7, 2017, Jokić scored a career-high 41 points in a 112–104 win over the Brooklyn Nets. 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. Jokić had a seven-game absence with a left ankle sprain in early December. 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. 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. 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. 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.
On March 7, he recorded 36 points and 13 rebounds in a 113–108 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. 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. On April 1, he had 35 points and 13 rebounds in a 128–125 overtime win over the Bucks. 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. 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. 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.
2018–19 season: Breakout season, first All-Star and All-NBA appearances
On July 9, 2018, Jokić signed a five-year, $148 million maximum contract extension with the Nuggets. 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. He also became just the second Nugget to record a triple-double in the first two games of the season, joining Fat Lever. 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. 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. 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. For his efforts in 2018, he was recognized as the Serbian Player of the Year by the Basketball Federation of Serbia.
On January 5, he scored a then season-high 39 points in a 123–110 win over the Charlotte Hornets. His second Player of the Week honor came for games played from December 31 to January 6. 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. 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. Two days later, he had 18 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists in a 121–100 win over the Los Angeles Clippers. On January 13, he scored a season-high 40 points in 116–113 win over the Portland Trail Blazers. 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. 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. On January 23, he recorded 28 points and 21 rebounds in a 114–108 loss to the Jazz. 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. 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. 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. 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. His twelve triple-doubles ranked second on the season behind only Russell Westbrook (34). On March 14, Jokic hit a rainbow hook-shot at the buzzer against the Dallas Mavericks to award Denver a 100-99 win.
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. 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. Those 43 points set a franchise record for most points in a playoff game. 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. In Game 1 of the second round, Jokić scored 37 points in a 121–113 win over the Trail Blazers, becoming the first Nuggets player to score 35+ points in a conference semifinals game since Carmelo Anthony (41 points) in May 2009. In Game 3 against Portland, he had 33 points, 18 rebounds and 14 assists in a 140–137 quadruple-overtime loss. In Game 4, he had 21 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists in a 116–112 win. In Game 5, he recorded 25 points and 19 rebounds in a 124–98 win. His 19 rebounds tied a team NBA playoff high. 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. 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%. Following the season, he was named to the All-NBA First Team, earning selection to his first All-NBA team.
2019–20 season: continued success and NBA Bubble comebacks
On November 8, 2019, Jokić made a game-winning jumper against the Philadelphia 76ers with 1.2 seconds remaining, to give the Nuggets a 98–97 victory, rallying from a 21-point deficit. In the very next game, he hit yet another game-winning jumper, just two days later, in a 100–98 overtime win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. On January 6, 2020, Jokić scored a career-high 47 points against Atlanta Hawks in a 123–115 away win. On February 4, he recorded 30 points, 21 rebounds, and 10 assists in a 98–95 win over the Utah Jazz; it was the first 30/20/10 game by any NBA player in four years, and only the third since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1976. On January 30, Jokić was selected to his second consecutive All-Star nod, becoming the first Nugget since Carmelo Anthony in 2011 to have back-to-back honors.
In the first round playoff series against the Utah Jazz, Jokić closed the series with a hook shot to break the 78–78 score into 80–78 with 27 seconds remaining in the game, winning the game for the Nuggets. He finished the game with 30 points, 14 rebounds and 4 assists. On September 13, Jokić recorded 34 points, 14 rebounds and 7 assists to lead Denver to a 111–98 Game 6 victory overcoming 19-point 2nd-half deficit. On September 15, Jokić recorded a triple double with 16 points, 22 rebounds and 13 assists to lead Denver to a 104–89 Game 7 victory over the heavily favored Los Angeles Clippers. Jokić joined Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett as the only players in league history to post a 20-rebound triple-double in the postseason. With the win, the Nuggets became the first team in NBA history to comeback from multiple 3–1 deficits in a single postseason. However, the Nuggets would go on to lose the Western Conference Finals in five games to the eventual NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers, with Jokić recording 22 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists in the lone Denver victory in Game 3.
2020–21 season: MVP season
Jokić started off the season with 4 triple-doubles in his first 6 games, in one of which he recorded a career-high 18 assists, on December 29, 2020, against the Houston Rockets in a 124–111 win. Doing so, Jokić became the first center to record at least 18 assists in a game since Wilt Chamberlain in 1968. On December 30, Jokić passed Fat Lever for most triple-doubles in Nuggets' franchise history in a 125–115 loss to the Sacramento Kings, which also saw him move up to 9th of all-time in career triple-doubles. On January 23, 2021, in a 120–112 double-overtime win against the Phoenix Suns, Jokić grabbed a career-high 22 rebounds, to go along with his 29 points. On January 31, Jokić recorded a then career-high tying 47 points and propelled the Nuggets to a 128–117 win over the Utah Jazz, snapping their 11 game win-streak in the process. For his play in January, Jokić was awarded back to back Western Conference Player of the Week awards, as well as being named the Western Conference Player of The Month, becoming the first Nuggets player to do so since Carmelo Anthony.
On February 6, Jokić scored a career-high 50 points, grabbed 8 rebounds, dished out 12 assists along with 3 blocks in a 119–114 loss to the Sacramento Kings. He set a franchise record for being the first Nuggets player with at least 50 points and 10 assists while also becoming the first center to do so since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on January 19, 1975. He also joined Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson as the only Nuggets players with more than 50 points scored in the past 20 seasons. In addition, Jokić opened the season with 20 consecutive double-double games, putting him only behind Bill Walton who opened the 1976–77 season with 34 straight double-doubles. On February 18, Jokić was selected for his third consecutive All-Star appearance, this time as a starter, becoming the first Nuggets player to start in the All-Star game since Carmelo Anthony in 2011, as well as joining Alex English and David Thompson as the only Nuggets players to be selected to three straight NBA All-Star games. The following day, on his 26th birthday, Jokić posted a triple-double with 16 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists in a 120–103 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, becoming the eighth player in league history to log a birthday triple-double. On 1 March, Jokić put up 39 points, including 17 in the fourth quarter, while also grabbing 14 boards and dishing out 9 assists en route to a 118–112 win against the Chicago Bulls. Doing so he became the first Nuggets player to score 35+ points in at least 10 games in a season since Carmelo Anthony in 2009–10. The following day, on the second night of a back-to-back, Jokić recorded his 50th career triple-double, with a stat-line of 37 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists, in a 128–97 blow-out win on the road against the Milwaukee Bucks. He became only the ninth player in NBA history to record 50 career triple-doubles, as well as only the second center to do so behind Wilt Chamberlain. Jokić also became the third fastest player to reach 50 career triple-doubles, with only Oscar Robertson and Magic Johnson doing it faster than him.
On March 17, in a 129–104 win over the Charlotte Hornets, Jokić surpassed Dikembe Mutombo for most double-doubles in Nuggets' franchise history. On April 1, Jokić was named Western Conference Player of the Month, for the second time, for games played in March. Doing so, he became the only Nuggets' player in franchise history to win the award twice in a single season. On April 4, Jokić had 16 assists in a 119–109 win over the Orlando Magic. As a result, he marked his 81st career 10-assist game, passing Wilt Chamberlain for the most double-digit assist games by a center in NBA history. On April 19, Jokić registered 47 points, 15 rebounds and 8 assists in a 139–137 double-overtime win against the Memphis Grizzlies. Subsequently he became the first center to tally a 45–15–8 line since Hakeem Olajuwon in 1996. On April 28, Jokić put up 32 points, 7 rebounds and 8 assists including a game-saving block over Zion Williamson to lift the Nuggets to a 114–112 win over the New Orleans Pelicans. On May 1, Jokić put up 30 points, 14 rebounds, 7 assists and 0 turnovers to lead the Nuggets to a 110–104 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers. This made it the third time in his career where he recorded a 30/10/5 game without a turnover, tying him with David Robinson for the most such performances by a center since 1985. On May 5, Jokić poured in a single-quarter career-high 24 points, and finished the game with 32 points, 12 rebounds and 6 assists in a 113–97 blow-out win against the New York Knicks. At the end of the regular season, Jokić led the Nuggets to a third seed in the Western Conference, boasting a record of 47–25. While playing and starting in every single game, he led the league in all the major advanced metrics intended to measure a player’s value -- Player Efficiency Rating, Win Shares, Offensive Win Shares, Box Plus-Minus and Value Over Replacement Player. Jokić also finished as the league leader in double-doubles, racking up 60 double-doubles on the year, while finishing second to Russell Westbrook for most triple-doubles on the season, with 16 triple-doubles of his own. He officially became the first player in league history to average 26 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists on better than 52 percent shooting (making 56.6 percent of his field goal attempts). As well, Jokić became just the third player in NBA history to finish a season ranked in the top five in total points (3rd), rebounds (5th), and assists (3rd), joining Elgin Baylor and Wilt Chamberlain (3x).
In Game 1, of the first round of the playoffs, Jokić put up 34 points and 16 rebounds in a 123–109 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers. The following game, Jokić scored 38 points on 15-of-20 shooting, while adding 8 rebounds and 5 assists, in a 128–109 win to tie the series up at 1-1. In Game 3, Jokić had another dominant outing, with 36 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists and a game-sealing tip-in, to lead the Nuggets to a 120–115 win, and a 2-1 series lead. Subsequently, Jokić became the fourth player in Nuggets' franchise history to score at least 30 points in the team's first three playoff games. He also became the first player since Michael Jordan to record 30 points on 50% shooting in each of his team’s first three playoff games. In Game 5, Jokić propelled the Nuggets to a 3-2 series lead, and a 147–140 double-overtime win, stuffing the stat-sheet with 38 points, 11 rebounds, 9 assists and 4 blocks. In Game 6, Jokić scored 27 of his 36 points in the second half to lead the Nuggets to a 126–115 series-clinching win.
For his regular season performance, Jokić won the NBA Most Valuable Player Award. In doing so, he became the first center to win the award since Shaquille O'Neal in 2000, as well as the first player in Denver Nuggets franchise history. He also became the first Serbian player, third European player overall (along with Dirk Nowitzki of Germany and Giannis Antetokounmpo of Greece) and sixth international player to ever win the award (along with Hakeem Olajuwon of Nigeria, Tim Duncan of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Steve Nash of Canada, Dirk Nowitzki of Germany, and Giannis Antetokounmpo of Greece). Jokić also became the lowest ever drafted player at #41, and the first player in NBA history to be selected in the second round of the common draft era to win the MVP award. However, the Nuggets would get swept by the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference Semi-Finals.