Gregg Popovich: Nuggets Star Nikola Jokic Is a 'Reincarnation of Larry Bird'

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistAugust 5, 2020

San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, right, congratulates Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic after Game 7 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Saturday, April 27, 2019, in Denver. The Nuggets won 90-86 to advance to the second round against Portland. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich had quite the compliment for Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic following Wednesday's game. 

"He's a reincarnation of Larry Bird" after Denver's 132-126 win, per Marc Stein of the New York Times.

Jokic finished with 25 points, 11 assists and four rebounds on 10-of-17 shooting from the field and 3-of-5 shooting from three-point range.

While comparing him to Bird is hyperbole at this point, it is hard to argue with the notion Jokic is a nearly impossible matchup for opposing defenses. The big man can extend his game beyond the three-point line, score on the blocks against smaller defenders and facilitate the offense like he's a point guard from the high elbow.

The two-time All-Star is still three championships behind Bird, but he can help change that if he continues to play like he did Wednesday at Walt Disney World Resort.

The 45-23 Nuggets hold the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference and are just a half-game behind the Los Angeles Clippers.