The 2021 NBA MVP Nikola Jokic is the first center to win the MVP award since Shaquille O'Neal in 2000. The Joker has brought the era of Big Men back in the NBA that had otherwise become a guard dominant league.
The Nuggets were dominant in the 2020-21 season, clinching the 3rd seed in the eastern conference. But, Jamal Murray's injury in the last leg of the season really dented Denver's chances of winning the chip this year.
Jokic was phenomenal during the year averaging, 26.4 PPG, 10.8 RPG, 8.3 APG, and 1.3 SPG on a 56.6% shooting from the field and 38.8% from beyond the arc.
The 3x All-Star's stat line is evidence that he can play all ends of the floor. Jokic exhibits big man qualities but can at the same time shoot the ball well.
During a TNT interview, when asked about how would former Lakers center Shaquille O'Neal do guarding him, the Joker had a hilarious response,
You can't guard me..... wait joking. I mean when I was in New Orleans getting out of the bus and he was in front of me(Shaq) and I had like a mountain in front of me. When I saw him in person and watched his clips he was so dominant. I think the most dominant guy to play the game. He was beast right there.
The two giants played in completely different eras. Shaquille O'Neal played most of his prime in the late 90s and early 2000s. During the time, big men were at more of an advantage as there was also a lot more physicality.
However, the current era has made the NBA a guard-driven league. Thus laying a lot of emphasis on shooting. While Jokic might not be as dominant as Shaq in the paint as well as a defender. The Nuggets superstar can definitely shoot the ball.
Jokic is a career 34.7% shooter from the 3-point line and an impressive 83.5% from the free-throw line.