Thursday, March 23 2023

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic has high aspirations for the remainder of his NBA playing career. On Monday, the two-time MVP talked about winning multiple championships, like one in particular San Antonio Spurs legend.

“I want to be the Tim Duncan of the Denver Nuggets, but I need to win a couple of championships to be him,” explained Jokic on team media day.

Will the Nuggets win a championship in 2023? Multiple NBA betting sites are showing top-10 odds for Denver. Check out which sportsbooks are expecting another playoff appearance.

Duncan was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2020. He spent his entire 19-year career with the Spurs. Plus, the four-time champion was selected to the NBA 75th Anniversary Team.

Excluding rings, Nikola Jokic is still far off from Duncan. The Big Fundamental retired with three NBA Finals MVPs, two MVPs, 15 All-Star selections, 10 All-NBA First-Team selections, and eight NBA All-Defensive First-Team selections.

Not to mention, Duncan won Rookie of the Year in 1998, was selected to the NBA All-Rookie First Team, and won NBA All-Star Game MVP in 2000.

In 2016, the Spurs retired Duncan’s No. 21 jersey.

Nuggets center Nikola Jokic aspires to be as great as Hall of Famer Tim Duncan

While it might take years for Nikola Jokic to have an NBA career résumé similar to Duncan’s, he’s correct about needing championships. The Nuggets have made the playoffs the last four seasons.

Though, they’ve not yet advanced beyond the Western Conference Finals. Last season, the Nuggets lost in five games against the Golden State Warriors in the first round of the 2022 NBA Playoffs.

The Nuggets have not appeared in the Finals since the 1975-76 season. But even then, the New York Nets defeated them in six games of the 1976 ABA Finals.

If Jokic wants to win multiple championships, he might have to leave Denver. It’s the sad reality that several stars are facing across the league.

During the offseason, the Nuggets added Davon Reed, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, DeAndre Jordan, Ishmael Smith, and Bruce Brown Jr. to their roster.

Last season, Nikola Jokic became the second-fastest player to reach 10,000 points, 5,000 rebounds, and 3,000 assists. This is based on 516 career appearances. He fell one game shy of tying Larry Bird’s record.

In July, Jokic signed a five-year, $264 million supermax contract extension with the Nuggets. He’s locked in until 2027. His contract includes a $61.446 player option for the 2027-28 season.

This deal is one of the richest NBA contracts in league history.

Of course, LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers signed a two-year, $97.1 million contract extension with the team in August. This deal made James the highest-paid player in league history.

For the bottom line, Nikola Jokic is already the best center in the NBA. But if he wants to go down in history as one of the greatest centers ever, winning a championship would be an added bonus.

Source: Basketball Insider


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