Nikola Jokic matches Hakeem Olajuwon’s 25-year-old big man record after clinic vs. Grizzlies
Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic has once again put himself up there as one of the best big men to ever play in the NBA. On Monday, he achieved an incredible feat and became the first center to tally a 45-15-8 line since the great Hakeem Olajuwon in 1996 (via StatMuse).
Jokic led the Nuggets to a huge double OT win over the Memphis Grizzlies with 47 points, 15 rebounds, and eight assists.
Did someone say, MVP?
Nikola Jokic tonight:
The first center with a 45/15/8 game since Hakeem Olajuwon in 1996. pic.twitter.com/0vwF4pEYSv
— StatMuse (@statmuse) April 20, 2021
Jokic put up a basketball clinic at the Ball Arena. The Joker pulled out all the stops against the feisty Grizzlies with key plays and buckets down the stretch. With the game on the line, he stepped up to the plate and knocked down a wide-open three-pointer in the second overtime to ice the game and help the Nuggets claim their 20th home win of the season.
The modern-day NBA has definitely taken the spotlight away from the big men. The game has shifted to a faster pace which has eventually undervalued the elite centers in the league right now. Jokic, however, has made sure that he’s been able to change that narrative this season.
The 26-year-old three-time All-Star has reinvented the five-spot and has developed into one of the most versatile big men the NBA has ever seen. He runs the floor for the Nuggets and can even play the point guard position down the block.
MVP-type centers have been few and far between in recent history. The last big man to win an MVP trophy was Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs in 2003. Almost two decades later, Nikola Jokic might well be on his way to his first MVP crown.