Skinny Nikola Jokic is real.
There had been rumors Denver’s All-Star had shed some weight, bringing a new look to Orlando for the restart of the league. Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly told Altitude Sports Radio: “He’s beach-ready… He sent me a picture. No shirt on. He’s got abs. I’ve never seen him have abs before.” Still, everyone rolled their eyes at a quarantine weight loss.
Thursday pictures of skinny Nikola Jokic surfaced from Serbia and… he’s lost weight.
Lajt varijanta Jokica pic.twitter.com/ZCnbCqxPsu
— Bojan Brezovac (@Breza89) June 11, 2020
👀 JOKIC! pic.twitter.com/NNsyW4HHRE
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) June 11, 2020
Jokic’s conditioning has long been a topic of discussion around the NBA, but he appears to have watched his diet and hit the Peloton (or whatever he used to workout indoors) hard during the hiatus.
That has led to the question in some quarters, will it be good for his game?
A player in better condition is always a good thing, don’t listen to anyone arguing otherwise.
Jokic has used his weight to bully defenders in the post and get to his spot. Jokic posts up an average of 4.8 times a game (24.1% of his possessions) and averages an impressive 1.06 points per possession on those, shooting 57% (stats via NBA.com). He may find it a little hard to overpower defenders on the block, although he has the footwork and craft to his game to still get off his shots.
The low post, however, is not the core of his game. Jokic gets more of his shots on catch-and-shoots, and it’s his passing when he gets the ball at the elbow (or other spots) that makes him an elite offensive player. That will not change with the weight loss.
Where skinny Jokic may be more valuable is on the defensive end. Jokic is never going to be an elite rim protector who switch on the perimeter, but this new Jokic should be a little quicker and able to give multiple efforts on the defensive end, rather than tiring out quickly.
This is good for Denver. Even if it’s going to take some getting used to.