The Los Angeles Lakers will be taking on the Denver Nuggets tonight, with the two teams presenting one of the most intriguing big-men-superstar matchups in the league. That matchup is, of course, the one between Anthony Davis and Nikola Jokic. The two came into the season as MVP candidates (as they probably do every season), but Davis hasn’t really rose to that level of play with only 22.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.9 blocks, and 1.3 steals per game (“only” is hilariously used here considering how good those numbers still look).
On the other hand, Nikola Jokic may arguably be the MVP favorite right now (if it wasn’t for the Nuggets’ current 12-8 record). He’s currently averaging 26.8 points, 11.8 rebounds, 8.6 assists, and 1.8 steals per game, with all four of those values being career-highs for him if he can maintain them all season. Davis was asked about Jokic yesterday ahead of tonight’s game, pointing out that Jokic will be bringing a “different dynamic” than the Lakers
have seen thsi year (full quotes below from Harrison Faigen/Silver Screen & Roll).
AD says he views Denver as in the same tier as the Lakers, Nets and Clippers.
"They came back from 3-1 twice last year… I've always viewed Denver as one of the top teams in the league. Capable of beating any team in a seven-game series."
— Harrison Faigen (@hmfaigen) February 3, 2021
Anthony Davis obviously holds Jokic and the Nuggets as a whole in high regard (or maybe he’s just saying this to try and keep the value high on their Western Conference Finals victory). He’s definitely not wrong when he says Jokic will present a different kind of problem for them when compared to their matchups against other superstars, as The Joker presents one of the most unique skillsets in the history of the NBA. The Lakers had decent success against him during last regular season and the 2020 Playoffs, but this was in part influenced by the defense of Dwight Howard. We’ll have to see how Marc Gasol and Montrezl Harrell fare when defending him, although let’s just hope Harrell is on him as less as possible.