Jusuf Nurkic put in star performance that even Shaq never matched

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There are not a lot of post players putting up monster numbers these days.

Most of the jaw-dropping stat lines are usually put up by players such as Russell Westbrook, James Harden and LeBron James.

But on Thursday, one big man put up stats that harkened back to days of dominant players such as Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkley -- and it was an unlikely source.

The Denver Nuggets found a diamond in the rough in Nikola Jokic, a 2014 second-round pick from Serbia. Jokic appears to be a future All-Star, as he can score, rebound and is an exceptional passer.

However, to fully maximize his talents and build around him going forward, the Nuggets had to trade the incumbent starter.

So on February 13, the Nuggets shipped off Jusuf Nurkic, the 16th pick of that same 2014 draft, and a first-round pick to the Portland Trail Blazers for Mason Plumlee and a second-round pick.

The path for Jokic to become the focal point in Denver was clear as his Bosnian teammate was traded away.

But a funny thing has happened since Nurkic was dealt to Rip City, as he's showing that he too, along with Jokic, also has the potential to be one of the league's most impactful big man.

Since joining Portland and star guard Damian Lillard, Nurkic has seen his production has more than doubled in traditional numbers. After scoring 8.0 points per game in Denver, Jurkic is averaging 16.5 points in Portland through eight games. His rebounding numbers are also up to 9.6 per game from 5.8, and he has 4.5 assists in Portland, compared to 1.3 assists.

On Thursday in a 114-108 overtime victory against Philadelphia 76ers, Nurkic took it to another level.

The 22-year-old center had 28 points, 20 rebounds, eight assists and six blocks. Those were career highs, according to the Oregonian newspaper. All of them.

Hisorically, this game can be put up with some of the best from the all-time greats.

The NBA reported in a tweet that Nurkic's game hasn't been matched since some of the best in recent memory.

A closer look says those stats are only half-right.

Shaq put up monster numbers several times throughout his career -- nights like a 1993 game for Orlando against New Jersey when he had 24 points, 28 rebounds and 15 blocks come to mind.

However the legendary big man actually never posted all the numbers that Nurkic did on Thursday.

The Trail Blazers Twitter account was more accurate when putting Nurkic's game in proper historical perspective.

Charles Barkley was the last one to do it in a 116-112 win for Philly in 1986 against Portland -- that's right, ironically it was the same two teams going at it that night.

That night, Barkley had 31 points, 21 rebounds, nine assists and seven blocks.

Sir Charles was matched by Sir Jusuf.

We'll see how high he soars from here.

Mason Plumlee
Portland Trail Blazers
Northwest Division
Western Conference
Shaquille O'Neal
Damian Lillard
Charles Barkley

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