At first sight, Nikola Jokić does not come off as the most dominant player on the court when considering his physique.
However, the Nuggets center continues to defy the norms of what it means to be a big man in today’s NBA. When considering the league’s most dominant big men, most think of the legends like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, Shaquille O’Neal and Hakeem Olajuwon, to name a few.
Those traditional centers were true to their position during their NBA tenures, an era where position-based basketball was the standard. But in today’s position-less NBA, Jokić thrives in the paint and stretches the floor with his three-point shooting prowess, along with his unique ability serve as a rare point center.
Despite Jokić’s unique skill set, Stephen A. Smith does not consider Jokić as one of the most dominant centers on the low block. During a Thursday segment on First Take, the ESPN commentator said Jokić was not considered a “dominant post player.”
Stephen A. Smith: "Jokic isn't known for having some kind of dominant post game now. That's not his game."— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) June 8, 2023
JJ Redick: "We've got 10 years of tracking data. You know what the No. 1 most efficient halfcourt play is? ... A Nikola Jokic post up. Boom." 🎤💀pic.twitter.com/kcU30lhCtY
Smith’s take came after Jokić delivered the first 30-20-10 triple double in NBA Finals history in the Nuggets 109–94 victory in Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday. Even more, the 28-year-old climbed to No. 3 in the league’s all-time playoff triple-doubles list, eclipsed Chamberlain for the most triple doubles in a single postseason (10) and matched both Chamberlain and Russell among players with the most triple doubles (2) in NBA Finals history.
After Smith’s absurd take about the two-time MVP, longtime NBA guard JJ Redick delivered a strong rejection to the remarks.
“We’ve got 10 years of tracking data. You know what the No. 1 most efficient half-court play is? ... A Nikola Jokić post up,” Redick said.
As Smith tried to defend his take on Jokić—likening the big man to former Celtics great Kevin McHale but not quite demonstrating the same dominance as O’Neal—Redick and Jay Williams were not buying his thought process at all.