Nikola Jokic is the best basketball player on the planet.
He had the best season a year ago and deserved the MVP. He won easily as he should have. But best season and best player are two different things.
That being said I have watched the early games and Jokic has gotten even better and guys like Lebron, Durant and Curry are just not as good as they once were (yes I know it is extremely early). The only guy I would hesitate on is Giannis, but I still take Jokic.
I know most of you don't watch him day in day out like I do. But the guy elevates the level of play of every single guy around him. He takes in some cases very average guys and makes them great. As Popovich reiterated on Saturday he is a 7 foot Larry Bird.
Last year Nikola had the 36th best VORP of all-time in the NBA. (Giannis' highest is 79th) But then you realize it was only 72 games and if you extrapolate it out he jumps all of the way up to #15. Jordan reached that level 7 times. Lebron 4 times. Robinson once, Garnett once and Chris Paul once. That is the company for the 26 year old.
Jokic's career box score plus minus puts him 3rd all-time behind Lebron and Michael Jordan (per basketball reference he needs 1400 more minutes played to qualify).
Jokic's career PER puts him 6th all-time behind Jordan, Lebron, Davis, O'Neal and Robinson.
Jokic's career win shares/48 minutes would put him 7th right in front of Kareem.
Jokic's career T/S percentage is 13th all-time mostly behind non-scorers like Deandre Jordan, James Donaldson and Jonas Valanciunas.
Jokic's career defensive box/score plus minus would put him at 25th all-time. Those who say he can't play defense don't watch him often enough.
Jokic's career free throw percentage is 106th in NBA history just under 84%.
Per 100 possessions compared to Larry Bird, Jokic...
Leads in points 30.6 to 30.3 for Bird
Leads in rebounds 16.2 to 12.5 for Bird
Leads in assists 9.8 to 7.9 for Bird
Is behind in steals 1.9 to 2.2 for Bird
Leads in blocks 1.1 to 1.0 for Bird
Is behind in FT percentage 83.9% to 88.6% for Bird
Is ahead in TS% 61.4% to 56.4% for Bird
Leads in Win Shares/48 .229 to .201 for Bird
Jokic doesn't have a title yet and Durant, Lebron, Curry and Giannis all do. I get that. But the fact that Jokic carried his team last year to the 2nd round is pretty amazing. In the first round they played Portland and were missing: their 2nd best player in PG Jamal Murray, their 4th best player in SG Will Barton, their 6th man in Monte Morris and their 7th man in PG/SG PJ Dozier. In other words their top 4 guards. Their starters were Facu Campazzo who was only offered a contract by 3 teams in the NBA out of Argentina and a guy who started the year as the team's 4th best PG and Austin Rivers who was literally out of the NBA for the previous 3 months sitting on his couch. And those were the starters, the 2nd team was even worse!
Jokic so far this year was +28 in a 12 point win at Phoenix and +14 in a 6 point win at home against the Spurs. In my opinion there is no better player on the planet.