Denver Nuggets’ Serbian sensation Nikola Jokic exploded into the upper-echelon of NBA talent this past season and clearly solidified himself as one of the league’s star players. After a wonderful showing at the Olympics last summer and a monstrous 2016-17 season that saw Jokic average 16.7 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 4.9 assists, it’s apparent how talented and impactful the 22-year-old is.
In the All-NBA voting, released Thursday afternoon, Jokic garnered 12 total votes. One of those votes was for the All-NBA first team.
- Jokic is the second youngest player of the group to receive a vote behind Karl-Anthony Towns.
- Jokic received a first-team vote when the likes of Damian Lillard, Paul Millsap, Blake Griffin, Al Horford, Chris Paul, Paul George, Gordon Hayward, Kyrie Irving, and Klay Thompson did not.
- Jokic received more total points from votes than Lillard, Millsap, Griffin, Horford and LaMarcus Aldridge. That is elite company.
Contractual impacts from All-NBA voting
With the new Collective Bargaining Agreement set to go into effect on July 1, a wrinkle exists for players looking to sign max contracts or extensions, with their current team.
To sign a “Designated Player Veteran Extension” in July, a five-year deal that can be worth around $30 million more than a standard maximum contract, an All-NBA team selection is required. The player also needs to be either drafted by the team attempting to extend him or must have been traded for by said team within their first four seasons. Hence, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, John Wall, and Stephen Curry are all able to sign a “super-max” in July.
When it comes to Paul George and Gordon Hayward it means quite the opposite. With neither of them making any All-NBA team, the only advantage their respective teams have in retaining them is being able to offer a five-year standard maximum contract when other teams can offer just four.
Whether or not this new wrinkle means that players who do not get selected to All-NBA teams will be more likely to be traded, or allowed to walk, is yet to be determined. If any of the players mentioned above make the All-NBA team next season they can still sign the DPA.
For Denver, who has been looking for an All-Star level talent for years, this could carry weight. With George and Hayward not making any All-NBA teams, they do not lose out on as much money if they choose to go to a new team. That gives Denver a better chance, however little of one it might be, to secure one of those players in free agency or through a trade.