Nikola Jokic has been on a tear this season, posting numbers worthy of an MVP candidate. As a result, the Denver Nuggets are firmly in fourth place in the Western Conference with a 41-21 record, with a chance to move up even higher.
But for all of Joker’s strengths, Michael Porter Jr. wants to highlight one skill a lot of people aren’t paying much attention to:
“He’s not the fastest, most athletic guy, but he’s mastered how to use his brain & be in the right spot,” MPJ said of Nikola Jokic’s defense. “He’s definitely an underrated defender.”
On Jokic’s game-saving block & why he might’ve needed a little “luck.”https://t.co/8kpwmwrJff
— Mike Singer (@msinger) April 29, 2021
Porter Jr. thinks Jokic’s most overlooked skill as a basketball player is using his brain to know where he should be on defense. The 22-year-old forward added his teammate is “definitely an underrated defender.”
Porter’s statement comes after Jokic’s game-winning block on Zion Williamson, leading Denver to escape with a 114-112 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans. The play in question had Jokic in a prime spot to deflect Willliamson’s attempt to tie the game with a dunk:
While there’s certainly an argument for a foul on the play, Jokic did well to put himself in position for the game-saving block. Jokic finished said game with 32 points, eight assists, and seven rebounds. For his part, Porter contributed 28 points, eight rebounds, and an assist in 40 minutes on the court.
This season, the Joker boasts a 2.5 Defensive Box Plus/Minus score, a rating that’s well above league average. This stat goes along with Jokic’s league-leading 9.0 Offensive Box/Plus Minus rating, making him the NBA’s top player on offense.
The Nuggets will be counting on Jokic’s MVP-level talent to lead them in the playoffs as they embark on a potential championship run. At the same time, Porter is expected to shoulder a large portion of the offensive load, especially with Jamal Murray missing the rest of the season after an ACL injury.