Nikola Jokic is having a truly historic season for the Nuggets

Dec 28, 2021, 12:02 PM
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - DECEMBER 08: Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets reacts against the New...
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

There are all kinds of statistics in the sport of basketball. When it comes to individual stats, there are the basics. And then the NBA adds a few more that we don’t see on the amateur level.

One of those NBA stats is called Player Efficiency Rating or PER. PER was the brainchild of former NBA front office executive and current NBA writer for The Athletic, John Hollinger.

Hollinger sought an all-in-one basketball rating, which boiled down all of a player’s contributions into one number. Using a detailed formula, Hollinger developed a system that rates every player’s statistical performance. His goal was to quantify the best offensive players in the league.

PER strives to measure a player’s per-minute performance, while adjusting for pace. A league-average PER is always 15.00, which permits comparisons of player performance across seasons. PER takes into account accomplishments, such as field goals, free throws, three-pointers, assists, rebounds, blocks and steals, and negative results, such as missed shots, turnovers and personal fouls. The formula adds positive stats and subtracts negative ones through a statistical point value system.

The rating for each player is then adjusted to a per-minute basis so that, for example, substitutes can be compared with starters in playing time debates. It is also adjusted for the team’s pace. In the end, one number sums up the players’ offensive accomplishments.

So, what does all this have to do with the Nuggets? Well, the Nuggets have a player who might end up, according to this stat, as having one of the best offensive seasons in NBA history. Maybe the very best ever!

We are talking about, of course, Nikola Jokic.

The greatest Player Efficiency Rating in NBA history, for one season, belongs to the great Wilt Chamberlain. In the 1961-62 season, he averaged an incredible 50.4 points per game and an equally amazing 25.7 rebounds per game. Wilt was also a very good passing big man, but that season was one of his lowest with assists, when he averaged 2.4 per game. Those numbers, combined with several others in the PER formula, gave Chamberlain a rating of 32.1, the best in NBA history.

Well, a glance at this season’s top offensive players has Jokic the NBA leader. His PER is currently 32.6.

If he keeps this pace, the incredible Nikola Jokic, at least according to one stat, will have the greatest offensive season in NBA history.


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Nikola Jokic is having a truly historic season for the Nuggets