In the never-ending debate regarding who’s the best player in the NBA, only one name stands above the rest in the eyes of Damian Lillard. And, given the recent run of dominance from said player, it’s not hard to understand why he’s earned the Blazer star’s respect.
Lillard cast his pick for who he thinks “might be the best player” in the NBA while speaking with fans Saturday on Instagram Live, and went with none other than Nuggets center and two-time MVP Nikola Jokić. The 11-year veteran even offered his own breakdown of Jokić’s skillset just to drive his point across.
“Joker might be the best player in the league,” Lillard said. “Smart as hell, he can shoot, he pass, he play team ball, he care about winning, he humble, he stay true. I like how Joker do his thing.”
Lillard throwing his name on the growing list of Jokić supporters comes amid one of the best seasons of the Serbian big man’s career. After missing out on becoming the fourth player to win three-straight MVPs, Jokić composed a historic postseason run to lead the Nuggets through their second conference finals in four seasons to secure the franchise’s first NBA Finals berth.
During his reply, Lillard also shared his stance on the 2023 MVP race, which saw Joel Embiid win the honor over Jokić and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Interestingly, Lillard admitted he believed, like Jokić, that the 76ers star should’ve won the award but made sure to throw in the caveat that “the best player doesn’t always win MVP.”
"Joker might be the best player in the league… Smart as hell, he can shoot, he pass, he play team ball, he care about winning, he humble, he stay true. I like how Joker do his thing."— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) May 28, 2023
Damian Lillard on Nikola Jokic 💯 pic.twitter.com/7teoqocrCe
While Lillard’s take may bring its share of naysayers, it’s hard for anyone to argue the seven-time All-Star’s claim considering Jokić’s success in recent seasons.
A five-time All-NBA talent and All-Star, Jokić will soon have a chance to further stamp Lillard’s support with the NBA Finals set to begin on June 1. Denver is currently awaiting the winner of Celtics-Heat Game 7 to find out its opponent, although you can rest assured Jokić will be a surefire early contender to add a coveted Finals MVP award to his trophy case.