Nikola Jokic vs. Victor Wembanyama is the best show in the NBA and the league's next great rivalry | Sporting News (2024)

Nikola Jokic and Victor Wembanyama each put on a show in their April 2 matchup.

Wembanyama had the new normal for him, coming a sliver away from recording a quadruple-double with 23 points, 15 rebounds, nine blocks and eight assists. It wasone of many Wemby stat lines that have never been accomplished before in NBA history.

As for Jokic, he had a ho-hum 42 points, 16 rebounds, six assists and two blocks on his end.

Wembanyama was guarded by Aaron Gordon for much of the second half. But when the Spurs rookie did go one-on-one with Jokic, it was absolutely electrifying.

Do yourself a favor and watch this entire sequence if you haven't seen it yet:

The NBA should be ecstatic about how well these two have played against each other. Jokic is the best player in the league, likely to win his third MVP award. Wembanyama is already a top-15 player and has the potential to pass him one day.

At age 29, Jokic still has plenty more time left as the top dog in the league. Wemby is coming right behind him. Here's why this is shaping up as a legendary rivalry.

MORE:Why Victor Wembanyama should make an All-NBA Team

Victor Wembanyama is the closest thing there is to a future Jokic stopper

Let's get this straight — nobody is stopping Jokic. He's averaged 37.3 points, 11.3 rebounds and 6.7 assists on 60.0 percent shooting against the Spurs this season, per Stathead.

Wembanyama has had some flashes of success guarding him, though. Nobody has blocked Jokic more than Wemby's six rejections this season. That 8-foot wingspan has given Jokic trouble throughout all of their matchups.

“Just wait until Wemby has to defend Jokic.”

— Spurs Culture (@SpursCulture) November 27, 2023

Jokic even admitted as much, revealing what he said to Wembanyama during the game.

"If you block one more shot, I'm gonna ... something" Jokic told reporters postgame."But he blocked like four after that, so I didn't do anything about it."

Mixed in with those blocks were times when Jokic overpowered Wembanyama — Joker is still shooting 56.3 percent against Wemby— but Wembanyama is nowhere near a finished product. As the rookie gains strength, that matchup is going to be a lot tougher.

MORE:Are there any Nikola Jokic stoppers? LeBron James and Warriors offer only real blueprint vs. Nuggets star

The Victor Wembanyama-Nikola Jokic highlight package is unbelievable

Any time you have the greatest passer in the game and the guy who is breaking the game on the same court, you are going to see some amazing stuff.

There was too much to get to in last week's game, but the best play from Jokic came on his 94-foot bomb on an inbound.

— NBA (@NBA) April 3, 2024

Wembanyama's late score and rejection had the internet buzzing.


Spurs-Nuggets | Live on the NBA App

— NBA (@NBA) April 3, 2024

These two produce the most aesthetically pleasing form of basketball. It is the game being performed at its highest level. It is going to be a must-watch any time they face off.

Victor Wembanyama and the Spurs are coming

The fact that the third meeting of the season between the Nuggets and Spurs was a close one should be counted as a minor miracle. Wemby tied the game with a minute left before the Nuggets pulled away.

The Nuggets were missing Jamal Murray but still had a ton of talent in their starting lineup. Meanwhile, Wembanyama was playing alongside Zach Collins, Malaki Branham, Devonte' Graham and Tre Jones in the fourth quarter.

Wembanyama's team stinks now, but they have a ton of cap space and draft picks to turn the ship around quickly. And Jokic's Nuggets should stick around for a while. All of their key players outside of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope are locked up for multiple years.

If both teams stay on their current course, then they could be fighting atop the Western Conference in a few seasons.


Nikola Jokic and Victor Wembanyama have mutual respect for each other

Jokic has been effusive with his praise for Wembanyama all year.

After the first matchup between the two, Jokic pronounced that Wembanyama was "going to change the game 100 percent."

That mutual admiration also shows up on the court, where the two clearly enjoy competing against each other.

just guys being dudes 😁#PorVida | @Spurs | @BallySports 📺

— Bally Sports San Antonio (@BallySportsSA) April 3, 2024

Jokic is one of the biggest Wemby fans out there. He sees that the future is bright, as hetold reporters.

"I think he's humble, he's working hard, and he's still hungry. That's a really good combination."

Nikola Jokic vs. Victor Wembanyama is the best show in the NBA and the league's next great rivalry | Sporting News (2024)
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