Nikola Jokic is a Hall of Famer.

Well, technically, not yet. But he will be.

(Wait a minute, Rob, this sounds familiar. <<clicks link>> Are you intentionally copying your lede from last year? I mean…)

Well, I do try to borrow from the best. Last year, I theorized if Milwaukee Bucks’ Greek god power forward Giannis Antetokounmpo had retired before last season, he would be a future, surefire lock for induction into Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. So, what this is, is …

This is what, Rob?

It’s …

Saaaaay it …

It’s an apology to Jokic, the now reigning back-to-back MVP, for not writing in last year’s piece that he, too, should be a lock for the Hall of Fame. Because – based on my own metrics – I should have included him in the locks, and I didn’t. (I’ll explain why I hedged a little further down.) My bad, Nikola.

Felt good, didn’t it?

It did, imaginary narrative foil, it did. And now that’s out of the way, let’s get to the business at hand: Jokic as a lock and how we got here by revisiting my oversight.

In the inaugural article, I noted there are four forward-facing achievements that nearly guarantee an NBA player’s election to the Hall of Fame: MVP, Finals MVP, scoring champ and top 50 all-time career points.

Every hall-eligible NBA MVP is in the Hall in Springfield, Mass. Every hall-eligible NBA single-season scoring champ is in the hall, except for one: Max Zaslofsky. Every hall-eligible NBA Finals MVP, save two (Cedric Maxwell and Chauncey Billups), is enshrined. Every NBA hall-eligible top-50 scorer except Tom Chambers (20,049) and Antawn Jamison (20,042) has been honored. (Don’t look now, but DeMar DeRozan is No. 50 on the NBA list with 19,869 career points.)

Why did I select those honors to highlight potential future Hall of Famers? One, those four have a nearly unassailable track record when determining which NBA player will be in the hall. Two, because basketball doesn’t have the adherence to certain career numbers that, say, the Baseball Hall of Fame (3,000 hits, 300 wins, 500 home runs) has. (Or had, but that’s a different column). Those NBA honors and achievements are easy for even the most casual fan to understand.

I also chose those two for another reason: because the hall’s selection process is famously secretive. As ESPN’s Baxter Holmes writes:

There is always a question of what qualifies one to be a Hall of Famer: What is the criteria? To Colangelo, the answer is simply their “body of work,” which leaves room for interpretation.

While the Stonecutters of the basketball hall have their reasons, these are my interpretations of an NBA player’s body of work.