Just four years ago, Nikola Jokic was a second-round pick still playing in the Adriatic League. Just three years ago, he was battling a struggling Jusuf Nurkic to be the Nuggets’ main center.
Yesterday, Jokic made the All-NBA first team.
Jokic has risen incredibly quickly. Before this season, he had never even been an All-Star.
That makes Jokic the first non-rookie in NBA history to make an All-NBA first team without a prior All-Star season (including ABA All-Stars).
The No. 41 pick in the 2014 draft, Jokic is just the fourth second-rounder to make an All-NBA first team since the NBA-ABA merger. The others: DeAndre Jordan, Marc Gasol and Marc Price.
For most players not immediately deemed to hold first-round talent, it takes a while to build stature in the NBA. Jokic made the All-NBA first team in just his fourth season. That’s way sooner than Gasol (seventh season), Price (seventh season) and Jordan (eighth season):
The Nuggets didn’t wait for this honor to make Jokic their franchise player. They gave him a near-max contract last summer, and by leading them into the second round of the playoffs, he triggered incentives to reach a max salary.
Denver has built a young supporting cast – mainly Jamal Murray and Gary Harris – to grow with Jokic. The Nuggets also signed veteran Paul Millsap, whose defense complements Jokic’s offensive-minded game.
So much is coming together so quickly for Denver, and Jokic’s honor is just the latest example.
Following the great tradition of Shane Battier and Andrew Bogut, Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard – who got his Raptors championship ring last night – had a special finger picked for it.
I have a logo in there, and it’s on my middle finger. So, it reminds me to put it on my middle finger. So, I have like an F U symbol on there.
Leonard’s hand is filling up. He already earned a championship ring with the Spurs in 2014.
I suspect this ring is also for San Antonio.
Timberwolves rookie Jarrett Culver, the No. 6 pick in this year’s draft, was the biggest basketball star of his family.
Emphasis on “was.”
Culver’s younger brother, J.J. Culver, scored 100 points in a game for Wayland Baptist University (Plainview, Texas) on Tuesday.
Jarrett, via Kent Youngblood of the Minneapolis StarTribune:
“I left the gym and my phone just blew up,” Jarrett said. “Everyone is texting me, ‘Your brother, your brother.’ So I FaceTimed him. I was like, ‘No way!’ I didn’t know what to say. I was in shock. It felt like I was dreaming.”
“I feel like I dropped 100 the way I was celebrating with him. I was super-excited for him. He deserves it.”
- 22-of-29 on 2-pointers
- 12-of-33 on 3-pointers
- 20-of-27 on free throws
Obviously, it’s unconventional for a single player to take 62 of his team’s 77 shots. But it doesn’t seem this was designed in advance. Nor does it seem Wayland Baptist runs a wild scheme. J.J. just got hot early, and his teammates then decided to keep feeding him. Obviously, by the end, he was gunning for records.
How will Jarrett one-up his brother now?
The Lakers aren’t Showtime 2.
Are the Celtics?
Kemba Walker and Jaylen Brown ran one flashy fastbreak last night.
NBC Sports Boston:
Though Walker scored 44 points, Boston fell to the Pacers, 122-117.
Another game, another Kings game-winning 3-pointer.
After Nemanja Bjelica hit a buzzer-beater against the Rockets on Monday, Bogdan Bogdanovic sunk the go-ahead 3-pointer against the Thunder last night. That stood as the game-winner once Richaun Holmes successfully defended Chris Paul on the other end, clinching Sacramento’s 94-93 victory.
The Kings have won three straight – over the Mavericks, Rockets and Thunder. The schedule softens over the next week and a half, giving Sacramento a real chance to rise in the Western Conference standings.
And if he keeps playing like this, Bogdanovic might find his way into a starting lineup.