NBA: Ranking the top 20 players that impact the game in non-scoring roles

NBA Oklahoma City Thunder Chris Paul (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
NBA Oklahoma City Thunder Chris Paul (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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NBA Denver Nuggets Nikola Jokic (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images) /

3. Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets

If you would’ve told me in the 1990s one day we would have point-centers in the NBA I would’ve told you that you were crazy. In the 2013-14 season, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau ran the offense through center Joakim Noah.

Noah would go on to have arguably his best season, averaging 12.6 points, 11.3 rebounds, 1.5 blocks, 1.2 steals, and 5.4 assists per game. He would finish fourth in MVP voting and win Defensive Player of the Year. Fast forward to the 2018-19 season, Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic would put up 20.1 points, 10.8 rebounds, one block, 1.4 steals, and 7.3 assists per game.

Some passes he throws are better than some starting point guards. Jokic occasionally will dribble the ball up for the Nuggets to initiate their offense. At 7-foot and 253 pounds, Jokic is far from an undersized center. In one of his most impressive games on February 5, Jokic put up 32 points, 21 rebounds, and 10 assists.

He became the 3rd player to have a 30-20-10 stat line since the NBA-ABA merger. Jokic credits his feel for the game to playing point guard when he was younger. This season Jokic is averaging 20.7 points, 10.2 rebounds, 0.7 blocks, 1.2 steals, and 6.8 assists per game.