Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets took a 3-1 series lead over the Miami Heat on Friday night and are heading back to Denver for Game Five on Monday night. The Nuggets will look to close the series out on Monday as Jokic pushes for the first ring of his eight-year NBA career.
Dirk Nowitzki, on the other hand, won his first ring in 2011 as the Dallas Mavericks defeated the Miami Heat in six games. It was one of the greatest NBA Finals runs ever.
The Mavericks legend had some nice things to say about the Joker during his impressive playoff run.
Dirk Nowitzki praises Nikola Jokic during 2023 NBA Finals
"I'm happy for him," Nowitzki said. "He's amazing, one of the best players in the world. And he's showing that right now on this stage."
Jokic is averaging 30.8 points, 13.5 rebounds, 8 assists, 1.5 blocks, and 1 steal per game in the NBA Finals. He takes his game to another level in the NBA Playoffs, just like Nowitzki, and has been getting compared to Nowitzki in another way during this illustrious playoff run.
Jokic's "Sombor Shuffle" is getting compared to Dirk's signature one-legged fadeaway.
The "Sombor Shuffle" is another form of a one-legged fadeaway, except Jokic pushes off the right foot and lifts his left leg while Nowitzki pushes off his left foot and lifts his right leg. Both ways work for each of them as they are difficult to block, but Dirk's looks better.
"It's just something that works for him," Nowitzki said regarding Jokic's off-legged fadeaway. "There's no way to get to it (as a defender) because he's also 7 feet and moving away from the defender on that shot. It's just impossible to get to."
Jokic is turning out to be one of the greatest European-born NBA players of all time and controls his destiny to win his first NBA Championship. He just has to win one of the next three possible games.
The Nuggets are the better team in this series and are 9-1 in their last 10 games. All signs point to Denver closing this series out in five or six games, but as we've seen in the past, anything can happen.
On the contrary, the Dallas Mavericks are looking to revamp their roster this summer and return to the playoffs next season. All signs point to Kyrie Irving returning this summer, and Dallas may keep their tenth overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft and select a rookie. There have been rumors of Dallas trading their first-round pick, but there are reportedly some players in this year's class that Dallas is highly intrigued with.
Stay tuned to see if the Mavericks can return to the NBA Finals in the next few years as they try to build the perfect team around Luka Doncic and Irving.