5. Nikola Jokic
Why not start off with a dark horse?
Nikola Jokic has slowly become the most effective big man in the NBA. After battling with current Portland Trail Blazers big man Jusuf Nurkic for minutes early in his career, The Joker has not only cemented himself as the best big man passer in NBA history, but has grown to become an average defensive center after struggling on the less glamorous end of the court for the majority of his first three seasons.
Now it’s time for Nikola Jokic to elevate himself to a level that has yet to be seen from him.
During the 2018-19 campaign, Jokic set career-high averages in points (20.1), rebounds (10.8), and assists per game (7.3), but there was never a point in the season that he was viewed as anything more than a fringe MVP candidate.
In large part, it may be due to his lack of scoring impact, but with the Denver Nuggets relying on internal growth rather than seeking out NBA free agents, more responsibility will be placed on the broad shoulders of the Serbian big man once again. If his track record proves anything, it’s that the Nuggets’ franchise cornerstone is more than ready to elevate his game.