Nikola Jokic won the MVP in each of the past two seasons, and the Denver Nuggets rewarded the big man with the richest contract in NBA history when he signed a supermax contract extension worth $270 million.
Now that the Nuggets paid their superstar with a supermax contract, they expect Jokic to finally deliver the franchise its first championship. The city of Denver has championship fever right now after the Colorado Avalanche won the 2022 Stanley Cup. With two other key members of the Nuggets — Jamal Murray and Michael Porter, Jr. — returning from injuries, the entire state of Colorado has high expectations for Jokic and the Nuggets next season.
The Nuggets are +1500 odds to win the 2023 NBA Championship, putting them ninth overall on DraftKings’ futures board. The Nuggets must navigate a stacked Western Conference, which could get even harder if Kevin Durant gets traded to the Phoenix Suns.
Last season, the Nuggets were 48-34 and finished sixth in the Western Conference. It was an impressive feat considering Murray missed the entire season while recovering from an ACL injury, and Porter had season-ending surgery after just nine games. The Nuggets were knocked out in the first round by the eventual champion Golden State Warriors, but Jokic averaged 31 ppg in the playoffs.
Colorado’s space cowboy
Jokic averaged 27.1 points, 13.8 rebounds, and 7.9 assists per game last season, and narrowly edged out Joel Embiid in the MVP race. Jokic won the MVP in back-to-back seasons, which qualified him for a supermax extension. He was in the top eight in each major statistical category, including being the NBA’s sixth-best scorer and second-best rebounder. Fantasy nerds get randy when they drool over Jokic’s PER rating. He led the NBA last season with a PER of 32.94.
As part of his new deal, Jokic will have a player option in the fifth and final year of his contract worth a whopping $60 million. Overall, his new deal is worth an average of $54 million per season.
The Nuggets selected Jokic with a mid-second-round pick out of Serbia in the 2014 NBA Draft. Over his seven-year career, Jokic shot an impressive 54.2% from the field, including 83% from the free-throw line. He also averaged a double-double four times in the last five seasons, missing out in 2019-20 when he averaged 9.7 rebounds per game.
The slick-passing Jokic is also regarded as the premier passing big man in the NBA. He averaged at least seven assists per game in the last four seasons, including 8.3 dishes per game last year.
The Nuggets gave Jokic some much-needed help when they acquired Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in a trade with the Washington Wizards earlier this week. KCP is a dangerous shooter (39% from 3-point land last season) who can instantly provide the Nuggets with another weapon on the perimeter. With KCP, the Nuggets add a veteran who has championship experience. He won a title with the LA Lakers in 2020.
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