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Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic creating next major shift in basketball since Stephen Curry, claims BJ Armstrong


Nikola Jokic has been on the receiving end of some high praise from practically everywhere following his amazing Game 7 performance from the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday. Jokic led his team to an astounding series-clinching victory against a heavily-favored Los Angeles Clippers side, completing an improbable 3-1 come-from-behind series win. This has led three-time NBA champion B.J. Armstrong to make a compelling statement about the Serbian being the league’s next Stephen Curry.

No, Jokic is not taking over Curry’s crown as arguably the best shooter of all time — although Jokic does have a sweet stroke. Instead, what Armstrong is saying here is that like Curry before him, Jokic also has the potential to change the landscape of the NBA as we know it.

“Every now and then, the NBA takes a shift,” Armstrong said, via Sky Sports. “Stephen Curry created the last shift because he extended shooting range which created spacing, what we call ‘pace and space’. Curry is unique because he shoots the three with such accuracy. Now, in Jokic, you have a player who could potentially redefine his position, because he can stretch the game from the five (center) position. He is the first five-man you can actually run your offense through. He is a ‘point-five’.

“I have never seen a five-man rebound the ball, dribble it out and make the right pass in a three-on-two or four-on-three break. He can pass on the perimeter, he can pass on the blocks and, most importantly, you can run ‘down screens’ with him. Who runs down screens for their big man to curl? I don’t even know how to defend that! Who else can do that in the league consistently and make the right play?”

That’s an excellent argument from Armstrong and not one that many will have qualms about. Nikola Jokic is indeed like nothing we’ve ever seen in the past, and it’s amazing how he’s just 25 years of age. His growth has been astounding, and as it seems, there’s nowhere to go but up from this point forward.

What impresses Armstrong even more is Jokic’s consistency in making the right decisions time and time again.

“And it’s not like he does it once or twice a game. He consistently makes the right play. He is an incredible player and something we haven’t seen before, because he is passing from all area on the floor with his right and left hand. All the Nuggets shooters know if they get open Jokic will get them the ball. He is like Magic Johnson.”

Jokic is a great player. There’s no more denying that at this point. However, he and the rest of the Nuggets will be up against a powerhouse Los Angeles Lakers side in the Western Conference Finals, and every bit of his unbridled skillset will be put to a true test.