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Nikola Jokic
Nikola Jokic
Position: C
Born: 02/19/95
Height: 7-0 / 2.13
Weight:253 lbs. / 114.8 kg.
Salary: $33,047,803
Scouting report
Even though Smith’s role in Denver is minimal, he has earned respect in the locker room. Coach Michael Malone said Smith, Green, Jordan and Caldwell-Pope have impacted the team’s culture. When Smith arrived, he immediately wanted to help Nikola Jokic be an even better playmaker. But as he watched Jokic make unreal passes and find teammates on the weak side, he realized there wasn’t much that needed to be said.
Tim MacMahon: NBA Coach of the Year Mike Brown, who ran Golden State’s defense when the Warriors eliminated the Nuggets last season, joined us on The Hoop Collective before the playoffs. His answer on how to approach massive challenge of defending Nikola Jokic:

That box score, combined with a disappointing Nuggets loss, calls to attention a pervasive school of thought held by some around the NBA: The “best” way to short-circuit Denver’s league-leading offense is to “make” Jokic into a scorer. It’s somewhat of a silly concept. Jokic reacts to what he sees, yes, but he’s also a dominant force who can pretty much do whatever he wants with the ball in his hands. In Game 2, Jokic was intent on putting the ball in the basket, while facing off against a defense that wasn’t in any hurry to persuade him otherwise.
“Joker is like a point guard out there, so whatever he sees and reads that’s how he plays,” Nuggets veteran Ish Smith told The Ringer. “Tonight they was playing him that way. And like he did for us in Phoenix, he got us 50 in Phoenix and almost won the game then. And so that’s what the game called for. Whatever they did, you know, obviously [we] came up short, but they still didn’t stop him. He scored 41.”
Denver dropped to 0-3 this postseason when Jokic scores 40 or more points, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. The Nuggets are 13-1 when the two-time MVP scores fewer than 40 points. Compared to Game 1, when Jokic had 10 assists but took only three shots by halftime, the center was more aggressive offensively on Sunday. He scored 18 points in the third quarter, but Miami made him work. If Game 1 was Jokic orchestrating a Nuggets offensive symphony in building a 24-point lead, the Heat made Game 2 feel like hand-to-hand combat for much of the outing. “They just put us in their rhythm,” Jokic said. “And we didn’t want to play that way, and they want to, obviously. But maybe just to play a little bit faster is going to help us.”
Jokić will adjust to whatever the Heat throw at him next. But if the game once again demands that he light up the scoreboard, that doesn’t have to be a kiss of death for the Nuggets. “I trust Nikola,” Malone said. “He’s going to read the game. He’s going to read how he’s being guarded, and he’s also going to pick his spots where he knows, regardless of how he’s being guarded, we need him to score and be aggressive and look to score. Whether it’s 41 points, only four assists, or it’s 25 points and 15 assists, Nikola, one thing I trust about him is he’s going to make the right read time and time again.”