Nikola Jokic is an artist keeping the way of the post scorer alive
Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports)
As the league pushes farther out the 3-point line, the art of post scoring has fallen by the wayside. Only four teams averaged more than five attempts from post-ups on a nightly basis in the 2021-22 season. Just six seasons prior, 24 teams took more than five post shots per game. This continual trend amplifies just how special Denver Nuggets superstar Nikola Jokic is.
Breaking the mold of his contemporaries, Jokic has added to his post arsenal each year. The two-time MVP improved his scoring average in all but one of his seven years as a pro, devastating his opponents using an art form that’s meticulous yet dazzling when deployed right. While the other greats of his time etch their names into history with pull-up jumpers and deep 3s, Nikola Jokic is the timeless warrior who unsheathes his sword at a gunfight and comes out victorious.
By the numbers, Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets dominate the low post.
Beyond dominating as a low-post scorer, Jokic adapted his post game by catering to modern times. When planted on the block, Jokic effectively improves his team’s spacing by sucking gravity to the basket like a black hole, delivering higher-quality outside looks for his teammates.
Denver led the NBA in both post-up field goal attempts and percentage last year. The team also managed to stay atop the rankings in post-up points per possession behind Jokic’s masterful skillset with his back to the basket. Nailing a tick under 63% of his shots in this range, Jokic led all players who took at least one post-up field goal attempt per game last season and beat them in post-up points per possession as well. So what makes him so special from the low block?