Second-round picks in NBA drafts aren’t often criticized, but when you’ve put together the start to your career that Nikola Jokic has, you get judged as stars should.

It’s impossible to discuss the Denver Nuggets’ future without discussing Jokic.

The 22-year-old, 6-foot-11 Serbian big man has changed the outlook of the Nuggets with his unique blend of size, soft touch and court vision.

Yet, now in his second year in the NBA, after the All-Star break Jokic seemed to have hit that proverbial wall that many young players encounter early in their careers and late in the season.

A mini-slump is what it seems Jokic is going through. He struggled mightily against the Sacramento Kings, where he only provided four points, and then scored only two points against the Brooklyn Nets, leaving many people with questions of, “What’s happened?”

Many close to the big man, including head coach Michael Malone and Jokic himself, have claimed it’s fatigue that has factored into him having a tough stretch of games.

A very important stretch of games is coming for the Nuggets, who currently the eighth and final spot in the Western Conference playoff race by a game over Sacramento. Although it’s not much time, Malone granted the big man an off day before Denver welcomed in the Memphis Grizzlies.

With the rest, Jokic looked more like his usual self in the 105-98 loss to Memphis. While he didn’t score as much, he stuffed the stat sheet by putting up 10 points, six assists and 11 rebounds.

Maybe there is a bit of fatigue that factored in as he’s been busy, not getting a break for almost a year. There were Olympics this past summer, from which he went straight to the season; he also participated in NBA All-Star weekend, playing extended minutes in the Rising Stars Challenge. A break was needed.

It could also be other things factoring into why he hasn’t been performing too well. Maybe this is the rest of the league putting together a scouting report on him and taking away the things that have made the Nuggets center clearly one of the best big men for the first half of the season.

Either way, Nuggets hope that Jokic’s performance in Sunday afternoon’s game against a very good Memphis team was a turnaround point in what was thought to be a slump due to fatigue.

The Nuggets will surely need him at his best if they want to hold on the the eighth spot and make the playoffs.