Nuggets middle Nikola Jokic made historical past Tuesday night time when he was named the NBA MVP for the 2020-21 season.
Jokic turned the lowest-drafted participant to come back away with the award. The Denver star additionally turned the first middle to win MVP since Shaquille O’Neal earned the honor in 2000.
The announcement was a second 20 years in the making for Jokic and the facilities of the NBA. But it was additionally a reminder of how impactful second-round picks could be in the NBA Draft and the way some proficient gamers can slip.
When was Jokic drafted? And why did he final so lengthy? Here’s a take a look at how the Nuggets had been in a position to scoop up an MVP-caliber participant so late in the 2014 NBA Draft.
When was Nikola Jokic drafted?
Nikola Jokic was chosen with the forty first general decide in the 2014 NBA Draft. He was chosen one decide after Glenn Robinson III and one decide forward of Nick Johnson.
At the time, not a lot was recognized about Jokic, an 18-year-old enjoying in the Adriatic League and, later, the Serbian League. He had averaged 11.4 factors, 6.4 rebounds and a pair of.5 assists per sport in 25 Adrian League contests, however he wasn’t thought-about a big-time prospect.
In reality, the announcement of Jokic’s choice wasn’t even aired throughout ESPN’s protection of the 2014 draft. His identify merely popped up on the backside line throughout a Taco Bell business.
Several prospects have that occur to them every year, however often the community cuts again for the bulletins of the greater names in the draft. Jokic, an unknown, was not thought-about one in all them.
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Why was Nikola Jokic drafted so low?
Jokic lasted so lengthy for myriad causes that Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly defined in a 2019 interview. But the high situation appeared to be his physique kind.
“It’s such an inexact science,” Connelly mentioned of the draft, per the Denver Post. “Nikola, up to that point, his professional numbers (in Europe) had not been something that would jump off the page, and certainly the body type is one that it’s easy to have questions about.”
Indeed, Jokic’s lack of athleticism and power had been a speaking level in his early NBA seasons, however he has largely overcome them to show into an MVP-caliber participant.
But what made Denver prepared to take a probability on him?
“We thought about past drafts of teams that missed on guys like him,” Connelly mentioned on Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan. “Like Marc Gasol wasn’t exactly Adonis (a Greek mythological figure known for his physique) when he was selected in the second round and he turned into a great player. So, all of these things come into play and then you say, well, he’s an elite passer, he’s got great feel for the game.”
Certainly, that passing capacity has translated to the NBA. And his “feel for the game” appears to be what led Denver to specific curiosity in Jokic.
It’s a good factor they did. Jokic was able to withdraw from the draft earlier than the Nuggets gave him a promise that they might use the forty first choice on him. That sealed his entry into the 2014 draft and allowed the Nuggets to land him.
Who went forward of Nikola Jokic in the 2014 NBA Draft?
Overall, 40 gamers went forward of Jokic and, retrospectively, it is laborious to argue that any ought to’ve gone forward of him. MVP runner-up Joel Embiid in all probability has the finest case, if you wish to have that argument.
However, Jokic leads the ’14 draft class with 64.4 profession win shares, a metric that estimates the variety of the wins created by a particular participant, and it is not notably shut. The second-place man in the draft, Clint Capela, is sort of 20 win shares behind Jokic.
Of the 60 gamers chosen in the ’14 draft, 25 gamers lasted three or fewer seasons in the NBA. Of these 25, 10 gamers went forward of Jokic, together with DeAndre Daniels, the thirty seventh general decide who by no means performed in the NBA.
Here’s a full take a look at the 2014 NBA Draft, together with the participant chosen at every spot and their complete win shares for his or her profession.
|40||Timberwolves||Glenn Robinson III||7.9|
Suffice to say that the Nuggets made out like bandits in getting Jokic.