Is Nikola Jokic's 2022-23 Season One of the Greatest of All Time?|
Despite media reports to the contrary, there's never been a game won in a team sport by an individual alone.
Even the most talented players need the backup of their teammates to pull them through tough moments, but Nikola Jokic isn't just doing a fine job of carrying the Denver Nuggets’ hopes of a maiden NBA championship on his shoulders.
So dominant has the Serbian been during the regular season and the playoffs that the Nuggets are now as short as 1/80 for those placing an NBA bet on the outcome of the title. Miami Heat, 1-3 down in a race to four, can be backed at 14/1 for an unlikely comeback.
The likes of Jamal Murray, Aaron Gordon and Michael Porter Jr have played their part in the Nuggets’ ascent, but all eyes are on Jokic as he looks to complete one of the most remarkable seasons in modern memory.
The Serbian is achieving feats never seen before in the professional game. He is the first in NBA history to record more than 500 points, 250 rebounds and 150 points in a playoff campaign – with the potential to add even more to his collection too.
That showcases his all-round talent and his importance to the Nuggets, who – like any franchise – would be lost without their talisman dominating from the center position.
As if that record wasn’t enough, Jokic has also become the first player to score three "30-20-10" games in the NBA playoffs. The 28-year-old slotted 34 points with 21 rebounds and 10 assists in Game 3; the fifth 30-20-10 performance in playoff history. Jokic has delivered three of them.
Incidentally, in that very same game, Murray recorded a triple-double as well - the first time ever in any NBA game, be it regular season or playoff, that two players from the same team have delivered such a performance.
Do you want more broken records? Jokic has also become the first player to deliver at least ten triple-doubles in a single playoff run - these are heights never before reached at the business end of an NBA campaign.
The Best Season in NBA History?
Although Jokic's playoff numbers are insanely good, the truth is that his regular season performances were not quite to the level of the greatest campaign in NBA history.
The legendary Wilt Chamberlain once averaged more than 50 points per game during an 80-game season back in 1962, as well as 25.7 rebounds per game - Jokic, meanwhile, served up 24.5 points and 11.8 rebounds respectively.
The Serbian has been more creative than Chamberlain was with 9.8 assists to 2.4, and while the general feeling is that the standard of play in the NBA is a lot higher today than it was in the 1960s, few can argue that Chamberlain’s dominant 1962 campaign is the greatest ever.
And for added context, Jokic scored his first-ever 40-27-10 game for the Nuggets against the Hornets back in December - a feat Chamberlain achieved on four separate occasions.
Recency bias makes it easier to call Jokic’s season as the best ever, but the records set by Chamberlain may never be beaten.