« I’m told about stats, but it’s a team sport »


European mentality, American mentality, they are often opposed when it comes to basketball. On the one hand the science of collective play, on the other the glorification of superstars and their performance, so when a superstar is European it gives quite a shock of cultures. Who else but the king of the stats line, Nikola Jokic, to illustrate this? On an individual ride in these NBA Finals, the Joker swears by one thing… the team.

A record here, another there, Nikola Jokic walks on these NBA Finals. And if there’s one obvious way to observe it, it’s statistics. Well yeah, the guy pulls out triple-doubles in spades, and it’s not 10/10/10 and more but many lines in 32/21/10 that look like Westbrook Prime. However, and this is nothing new, the Serbian giant has nothing to do with his stats. Individual performance or not, as long as the Nuggets win, what does it matter?

In a press conference before match 4, Niko was also questioned on this subject by an Israeli journalist (at 4:55).

“Šarūnas Marčiulionis said how difficult it was for him in the United States where they talk about stats all the time. Everything is statistics, statistics, statistics, all the time. Do you agree ? » – A journalist

“People talk to me about my stats all the time, and I try to say it’s a team sport. So yes, I agree. In Europe it’s all about the team and the win, here the win is important too but the stats maybe even more, I don’t know. – Nikola Jokic

Honestly, this Joker statement isn’t all that surprising. Already, because we know the boy, and then because European and American mentalities on the subject are different. When we think of a European player, we first think of the sense of collective play and the taste for a well-done pass. It is no coincidence that two basketball legends from the Old Continent come together on this point. Conversely, the NBA is a factory of highlights and records. The slightest triple-double is spied on, dissected, returned and re-returned, on your favorite media first.

So much for the clichés, now in fact, how not to rave about the stats of the Colorado hero?

NJ15 is on an absolutely legendary Playoff campaign, and has never been closer to a ring. So yes, there is nothing more important than the team and the victory, but precisely, without the stats of their leader, the Nuggets really would not be the same team. A proof ? The Joker is close to becoming the first player in history to lead the Playoffs in all three main statistical categories: points, assists and rebounds. Big madness, and especially big joke for a guy who doesn’t care. Conclusion, that’s the difference between Jokic and a bunch of NBA players: the Joker’s stats win his franchise. If Niko takes a shot, he MUST take a shot, and the same goes for assists and rebounds. Never a superfluous action, never a forced move, and if the buddy is open, well, we trust the buddy.

The priority is winning, and that’s not going to change any time soon, but basketball is a sport of statistics and there’s not much you can do about it. Whether it is the address or the performance of a team on the rebound, there are a lot of factors that can only be determined by numbers.

Nikola Jokic leads the 2023 NBA playoffs in points, rebounds & assists 😮

549 PTS (1st)
241 REB (1st)
182 AST (1st) pic.twitter.com/J8hoo98Chl

—BasketNews (@BasketNews_com) June 8, 2023

In the end, more than in their importance, the difference between the statistics in Europe and the United States is perhaps rather based on their treatment. When a masterful individual performance can eclipse the rest of a game in the US, a player’s stats will come after the W on a European boxscore.


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