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Nikola Jokic Crowned “Europe’s LeBron” By Colin Cowherd For Matching All-Round Prowess Of The 4x NBA Champ

Published 04/22/2024, 8:22 AM EDT

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USA Today via Reuters

Nikola Jokic. That wasn’t a name almost anyone associated with greatness. And most certainly not a fitting comparison to the NBA legend, LeBron James. After getting drafted in the 2014 NBA draft, Jokic joined the Nuggets for the 2015-16 season. But the Serbian was in unfamiliar territory. Not only was he miles away from his home, but the rules, lifestyle, and culture were different. More importantly, he had to familiarize himself with the way the league did things and the way the franchise worked. If that wasn’t enough, they were banking on him to get their first-ever championship.

Jokic might not have entered the NBA with a fanfare resembling LeBron’s. But he walked into a franchise with the same amount of expectations and responsibilities. Finally, after seven years, he led Denver to a title. And now, they are looking to repeat the same outcome this season. For starters, the Nuggets defeated the Lakers 114-103 in Game 1.

As the second round is set to happen tonight at 10:00 PM ET at Ball Arena, Jokic is once again the center of conversation for the host of The Herd with Colin Cowherd for FS1 and Fox Sports Radio, Colin Cowherd. The American broadcaster is so utterly in awe of Jokic and his all-round skills that he is left asking himself a question many have already asked themselves, perhaps multiple times; Is he Europe’s LeBron?

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USA Today via Reuters

Cowherd was also joined by Hoops Tonight host Jason Timpf. And Timpf further notes why the comparison is on point. “Jokic, I believe, right now is a better offensive player than LeBron ever was, and that’s a really high bar,” he says as one reason. The 6’11, 284-pound horse lover ranks third in offensive rating (122.4) this season.

Another aspect in which the two are very similar is that they are game-changers. The way they can both read the game, adjust the plan depending on the changes, and have a high basketball IQ, are all attributes that are often neglected in favor of the numbers. But the one difference was, “There’s never been a guy in the modern NBA era that has a shot that he can consistently get to that’s going to go in two-thirds of the time,” Timpf concludes.

According to him, not even Steph, MJ, James, or even Kobe had that consistency in shot-making! But it was something the best in the field of scouting already knew.

Nikola Jokic gets the nod of approval from Jerry West

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An NBA legend, Jerry West’s potential to recognize basketball superstars is one that no scout has been able to fully master. And when the man himself was at a loss for words to describe Nikola Jokic, then it must mean something. Joining the Rich Eisen Show last year, the oldest scout decided to summarize the Joker’s skills in a simple sentence.

“He’s just amazing.” West was particularly appreciative of Jokic’s 9-foot wingspan. The man seemed to be quite annoyed that others didn’t see its beauty. “He’s got the greatest pair of hands that any inside player and people don’t really talk about that,” he said.

USA Today via Reuters

The Lakers legend was also full of praise for the reigning champ’s brilliance in knocking down shots. Criticized often for his sluggish movements, it was easy for almost everyone to simply dismiss the chances of his shot going in. But West begged to disagree. “You have to watch him carefully around the basket … You say, ‘Oh, he can’t make those shots.’ He makes them regularly.” Exactly what Timpf noted above!

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And if that wasn’t enough to understand his greatness, the King himself gave the Joker his due credit. “He’s one of the best players to ever play this game. He does everything,” Bron had said ahead of the playoffs. He also pointed out how Nikola Jokic is able to inspire his teammates to play at a level they don’t believe themselves to be capable of. And that, to him, is the true testament of a great.

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Written by:

Geisha Pulimoottil Don

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Geisha, serving as an NBA Writer at EssentiallySports, actively engages in the coverage of breaking news, specializing particularly in injury reports. Demonstrating a notable proficiency in beat reporting, she is currently advancing her scope to include events, focusing specifically on refining her skills in play-by-play commentary through Live Blogs. Moreover, she maintains a vigilant watch on BTS narratives, recognizing their potential to shape or disrupt the NBA landscape.
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