Legendary Hall of Famer declares Nikola Jokic is more dominant than Wilt Chamberlain right now

Mike Battaglino
3 Min Read
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Nikola Jokic is having another statistical season for the ages, and Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett said the Denver Nuggets superstar is currently more dominant than Wilt Chamberlain used to be.

“What he’s doin’ in our league…he’s ripping the records apart,” Garnett said. “… They showed a stat where he’s had a triple-double on every team in the league.

“… Right now, Joker is more dominant than Wilt Chamberlain right now. They got some n—– takin’ him over Shaq (Shaquille O’Neal). They got motherf—— takin’ Joker over Wilt or Shaq.”

Jokic saw his streak of four straight games with a triple-double end on Thursday when he fell three assists short in a win against the Miami Heat. He has 19 triple-doubles this season and 124 in his nine-season NBA career entering his game against the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday night.

By comparison, Chamberlain had 78 triple-doubles during a 14-season career that ended with the 1972-73 campaign.

However, the big man had a run of dominance that remains virtually unmatched statistically. Not only does he hold the single-game scoring record of 100 points, but he once averaged over 50 points per game for a single season and averaged more than 20 rebounds per game in a season 10 times.

For his career, Chamberlain averaged 30.1 points, 22.9 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game. To this day, he owns the top four seasons in points per game and the top three seasons in rebounds per game in NBA history.

O’Neal, for his part, averaged 23.7 points, 10.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists during his 19-season NBA career that ended with the 2010-11 season.

Jokic is at 20.7 points, 10.7 rebounds and 6.9 assists per contest in his career. This season, those numbers are 25.8 points, 12.3 rebounds and 9.3 assists per contest.

It’s worth noting that the game has changed significantly since Chamberlain dominated his opposition. Garnett admittedly may be showing some significant recency bias in comparing Jokic to the legendary center.

Russell Westbrook, currently of the Los Angeles Clippers, holds the NBA record with 198 career triple-doubles and the single-season mark of 42 set during the 2016-17 campaign. Jokic’s career-high is 29, established in the 2022-23 campaign.

Jokic is only 29 years old, so he does have plenty of time to add to a list of accomplishments that includes two NBA MVP awards (and possibly a third upcoming), one NBA championship, one NBA Finals MVP award and six All-Star Game selections.

Fans of the league can watch along with Garnett to see what kind of numbers Jokic can put up for the rest of his career.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has focused on New York sports. He has covered the NBA and NFL for almost three decades and is still waiting for the next championship for the Knicks and Jets.