Nikola Jokic Surpasses Wilt Chamberlain With Incredible Stat Line

Chicago Bulls

Getty Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets.

There’s been a lot of talk about the “next face of the NBA” in recent weeks, with analysts and fans alike anointing the likes of Anthony Edwards and Jayson Tatum as the successors to LeBron James and Stephen Curry. Nikola Jokic is probably glad not to be in the conversation as he’s far too unassuming for all that showboating. All Jokic does is continue to rack up numbers at a historic pace en route to his possible second NBA championship.

On February 25, the reigning NBA Finals MVP quietly went about his business again, notching up 32 points, 16 rebounds and 16 assists in the Denver Nuggets’ 119-103 win over the Golden State Warriors. In the process, Jokic surpassed the legendary Wilt Chamberlain for most 30-15-15 games in NBA history and now trails only Oscar Robertson for most games with such a stat line.

Furthermore, Jokic (139) also surpassed James for most triple-doubles in NBA history (including the postseason). He now trails only Russell Westbrook (210), Robertson (189) and Magic Johnson (168) in the all-time leaderboard. Seeing as the aging Westbrook is now operating as a Sixth Man for the Los Angeles Clippers, Jokic, 29, is on pace to eventually catch him for the record.

Nikola Jokic: The Rim Protector

Over the years, one of the few knocks on Jokic’s game has been his lack of tenacity on the defensive side of the ball. This is precisely why Denver depends heavily on Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Aaron Gordon to aid him with help-side defense and cover for his inability to protect the rim. However, Jokic – like any all-time great – has worked on his weaknesses, playing a crucial role on defense during Denver’s championship 2023 run. During the game on February 25, Jokic had four steals and stopped Jonathan Kuminga and Stephen Curry from finishing several shots at the rim.

After the game, Warriors coach Steve Kerr heaped praise on Jokic for being an underrated defender.

“He’s just such a dominant force in every way,” Kerr said of Jokic. “He’s so smart defensively – four steals, anticipated a couple of passes that he stole.”

Is Nikola Jokic a Lock to win his 3rd MVP?

According to BETMGM, Jokic (-140) is the odds-on favorite to win his third NBA MVP award. As it stands, All-Star guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (+220) is his biggest threat and could surpass Jokic if he can guide his OKC Thunder to the top seed in the Western Conference. There has been some talk recently about Tatum (+4000) getting some consideration for MVP, but his chances are hurt by the fact that the Celtics have two other 20PPG+ scorers in Jaylen Brown and Kristaps Porzingis.

After the Nuggets’ win on February 25, NBA analyst Kendrick Perkins explained why Jokic put himself back in the forefront of the MVP race.

“Just when the Warriors thought they had a chance, Jokic and [Jamal] Murray snatched their souls from them, and reminded the world that they’re the best duo in basketball,” Perkins said.

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