Nikola Jokic’s All-Around Brilliance Makes Him Great, but Nuggets Wants Him to Be More Selfish

The Nuggets have a lot of talent on the roster, but Nikola Jokic is their clear-cut star. He’s an excellent playmaker and defender who has been playing out of his mind to lead Denver back into the playoffs for the first time in 10 years.

Nikola Jokic is a 20-year old basketball player who plays for the Denver Nuggets. He is considered to be one of the best players in the NBA, but he has been criticized for not being selfish enough. Read more in detail here: how old is nikola jokic.

Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets is probably the best passing big man in NBA history. Gregg Popovich, the head coach of the San Antonio Spurs, compared him to Boston Celtics star Larry Bird because of his all-around skill set. It’s also one of the reasons Joker was named NBA MVP last season.

The Nuggets’ tone is established by Jokic’s selflessness. His head coach, on the other hand, wants him to search for his own shot more regularly.

The Serbian center has already established himself as a top scorer. Jokic has a scoring average of 25.9% and a true shooting percentage of 62% in the NBA. Big guys who get easy baskets around the rim usually profit from the latter statistic. It’s especially relevant in Jokic’s situation since he averages 4.2 three-point attempts per game.

Jokic is a force on the low block, and his ability to shoot from the perimeter helps him open up the floor. With Denver in desperate need of more scoring, head coach Michael Malone wants his top player to carry more responsibility and show a little more selfishness.

Around Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets need more scoring.

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic prepares to shoot during an NBA game against the New Orleans Pelicans

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic prepares to shoot during an NBA game against the New Orleans Pelicans During a game on Feb. 4, 2022, Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets drives against Jonas Valanciunas #17 of the New Orleans Pelicans | Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images

The Nuggets’ offense seems to be a well-oiled machine on the surface.

Denver has the eighth-best offensive rating in the NBA and the third-best field-goal percentage. The Nuggets are also third in terms of assists. However, they rely heavily on Jokic to make plays.

Joker leads the Nuggets in assists per game with 7.9 per game. He is, nonetheless, among the NBA’s top players in terms of hockey assists. As a consequence, according to, Jokic is sixth in the league with 9.7 adjusted assists.

Why does Denver need Jokic to generate so many attacking opportunities? Without the injured Jamal Murray (knee) and Michael Porter Jr., who is still out following back surgery at the end of November, the club is severely lacking in shot-creating guards and wings. Those are two critical omissions.

Murray scored almost 21 points per game last season, while MPJ scored 19.0 points per game. With 115.1 points per game, Denver was ranked sixth in scoring. Jokic is the only player in the NBA who has scored 20 points this season. Will Barton is the only other player on the team that averages at least 15 points each game. The Nuggets’ team scoring average has also dropped to 109.3 points.

As a result, Denver might benefit from more scoring. Michael Malone wants Jokic to do everything on his own.

Jokic must take more shots, according to Michael Malone.

Malone said categorically that he wants Nikola Jokic to take more shots. It was emphasized during yesterday’s film session, he said.

“Shoot the ball,” he said to him. These photos must be taken by you.”

— Mike Singer (@msinger) February 6, 2022

Nikola Jokic creates consistent offense and scores at a high rate, which Malone recognizes. When Denver shoots, he has a higher probability of scoring the ball.

Malone, on the other hand, has made it plain to Joker that he must seek out his own opportunity.

The Nuggets head coach said (h/t Mike Singer of the Denver Post) Sunday that he made a point of telling Jokic to shoot the ball more often during a weekend film session. According to Malone, it’s for the good of the team.

“Shoot the ball,” says the narrator. These photos must be taken by you.”

–Message from Michael Malone to Nikola Jokic, via the Denver Post

Opponents are unable to contain Jokic in the post. According to, the Nuggets score 1.09 points per possession on every Joker post-up, which is second only to Joel Embiid in the NBA (min. 25 games played and 16 percent frequency). It’s a show that Denver should see more of.

Jokic uses his stature and footwork to outshine opponents while also facing up and hitting fadeaway shots. In anticipation of double-teams, he often looks for passes, but he also possesses the ability to spin off either shoulder and muscle his way to the basket.

Jokic also shoots the ball at a high enough percentage (38.1%) to make even more three-pointers. He’s a capable shooter who creates opportunities for his teammates by luring opposing big men out of the lane.

If Joker follows his head coach’s suggestion, he might get national attention and put a stop to the idea that he is a misunderstood reigning MVP. Still, Jokic is too selfless and has a high IQ to not make the correct basketball decision.

Malone’s remarks came only hours after the Nuggets center had a triple-double in a rout of the Brooklyn Nets. Despite the fact that he only attempted 15 shots, he still managed to score 27 points. Sure, efficiency is important, but Malone is likely looking for a boost in field-goal attempts when the going gets rough.

Instead of attempting to modify too much about Jokic’s game, the Nuggets should see if they can acquire a bench player before the NBA trade deadline on February 10th.

Is it possible for Denver to add scoring depth before the deadline?

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The Nuggets are handicapped by financial restraints ahead of Thursday’s NBA trade deadline, but they must do all they can to surround Jokic with additional scoring depth.

Last month, Denver made a move on the outside, getting Bryn Forbes from the San Antonio Spurs and adding DeMarcus Cousins for frontcourt depth. Both guys have had an impact, with Forbes averaging 10.3 points per 36 minutes and Boogie averaging 16.4 points per 36 minutes, despite his inefficiency.

On the wing, the Nuggets could still need more depth. Denver would be a great fit for Jerami Grant, but it likely lacks the assets to make a deal happen, and the Detroit Pistons are unlikely to trade Grant in the first place.

The Nuggets may be able to take advantage of the Phoenix Suns’ Jalen Smith situation, while the Suns may be more interested in utilizing Smith to acquire a veteran like Eric Gordon.

Regardless, Denver might benefit from increased offensive firepower via trades or the buyout market. Otherwise, Malone is likely to continue to want more from Jokic in terms of scoring. It’s not like it’s the worst thing in the planet.

Unless otherwise stated, all stats are courtesy of Basketball Reference.

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