Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic fears no man and no king.
In the Nuggets’ 126-113 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday, Jokic got LeBron James in the post on a switch in the third quarter and proceeded to score on the four-time MVP somewhat easily.
After the game, Jokic was asked about the sequence and dropped this legendary quote, per Harrison Wind of BSN Denver.
Jokic on his post-up vs LeBron:
Q: You're gonna think about that one for a while right?
"Naw….think that's a mismatch for us…." pic.twitter.com/QbjUaKPOcM
— Harrison Wind (@NBAWind) March 23, 2017
On the one hand, Jokic could be simply pointing to the fact that he enjoys a two-to-three-inch height advantage over James. But on the other hand, The Joker’s comments are consistent with the strut he’s had in his step lately, leading Denver to a chokehold on the eighth seed in the West with averages of 16.1 points, 11.2 rebounds, and 6.2 assists per game post-All-Star break.
There’s no swagger quite like Serbian swagger.
Video via NBA Reddit
Denver Nuggets big man Nikola Jokic is playing with some serious swagger right now, and that’s apparently extending into All-Star Weekend.
In an interview with NBA TV on Friday, Jokic, who will be representing Team World in the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge, was asked if he had any predictions about facing Team USA in the competition. The 21-year-old replied simply, “Yeah, we’re gonna kick their a–.”
Jokic definitely has a right to feel confident as he enters the All-Star break with eye-popping averages of 20.1 points, 11.1 rebounds, 6.3 assists, and 1.3 three-pointers per game in the month of February. His head coach has recently been spreading the good news of Jokic’s arrival on the scene of NBA stardom, and now it looks like the Serb is starting to take on the part as well.
Video via NBA Reddit
Mike Malone wants you to know that Nikola Jokic has officially arrived.
After Jokic posted a career-high 40 points to go along with nine rebounds and five assists in a 131-123 win over the New York Knicks on Friday, the Denver Nuggets head coach said that it was time to let the cat out of the bag.
“We’re ready to proclaim that Nikola Jokić is a star.”
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) February 11, 2017
The 21-year-old Jokic is now averaging 15.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game on the season. That includes 22.8 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per game since the calendar turned to 2017.
Playing on a small-market Denver team and having been selected with little fanfare in the second round of the 2014 NBA Draft, Jokic doesn’t get nearly the same recognition as some of his contemporary big men (e.g. Joel Embiid, Kristaps Porzingis, Karl-Anthony Towns, etc.). But with his versatile scoring and his flair for fancy passes, the Serbian is just as gifted offensively as any and every one of them. For Malone, who has always had quite an interesting relationship with Jokic, he wants to make sure we’re all well aware of that.
Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic is quickly making a name for himself in the NBA, both for his on-court play and some rather amusing off-court stories.
Joking put up 20 points, collected 13 rebounds, and dished out 11 assists for his first career triple-double on Friday night, making him a natural choice for the game ball. It was a reward that he gladly accepted from coach Michael Malone – while in the nude.
“I hugged him,” Jokic said, via Harrison Wind of BSN Denver. “I was naked and I hugged him.”
When you’re putting up lines like that, Malone probably doesn’t care what Jokic does.
Jokic is awesome both on and off the court. Now that he’s kicked the soft drink habit, he’s become one of the NBA’s elite big men, averaging 15.6 points and 8.6 rebounds per game.
Denver Nuggets big man Nikola Jokic is enjoying a breakout 2016-17 campaign and may have the curbing of an unhealthy dietary habit to thank.
In a recent Q&A with Zach Lowe of ESPN, Jokic admitted that he used to drink up to a gallon of Coca-Cola every day.
Is it true you used to drink a gallon of Coca-Cola every day?
Yeah. Maybe three liters or so. It was a lot.
How early in the morning did you take your first hit?
Never in the morning, because we had practices in the morning, and I could never drink before. But after practice, it was glass after glass. I couldn’t stop.
Ever dabble now, or have you totally kicked it?
I haven’t had any in the last one-and-a-half years. On my flight to come to Denver, I had my last Coke ever.
Any withdrawal headaches?
No. Nothing. It was easy. It felt really good, actually. It was good to know I didn’t need it.
According to Coca-Cola’s official nutrition facts, a three-liter bottle contains a total of 1120 calories, roughly 104 percent of one’s daily value of carbohydrates, and a monstrous 312 grams of sugar. While the 6-foot-10, 250 pound Jokic consuming all that is significantly different from the rest of us doing so, it still seems a little less than ideal.
Jokic, still just 21 years of age, is averaging 12.7 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 3.7 assists in only 24.4 minutes per contest this season and can probably attribute some of that success to his Al Jefferson-eqsue lifestyle change.
Image via Denver Nuggets on YouTube
There are some times when NBA players hit the jackpot and find the rare nexus where talent, opportunity, and circumstance all intersect. You can have all the talent in the Western Hemisphere, but with no opportunity and poor circumstantial luck, you’re basically rookie-year D’Angelo Russell: imprisoned in a cell built entirely out of parting Kobe Bryant bricks and guarded by Byron Scott’s folded arms.
With ample opportunity but questionable talent and equally questionable circumstance, you’ll faceplant and find yourself in The Anthony Bennett Zone, forever haunted by The Ghost of No. 1 Overall Picks Past. Talent and circumstance without opportunity turns you into pre-Enes-Kanter-trade Rudy Gobert or worse, Darko Milicic: selected No. 2 overall by a championship-caliber Detroit Pistons team but perpetually thumb-tacked to the end of their bench and finding himself cursing the mothers of European referees just four years later.
Even talent and opportunity sans circumstance guarantees you nothing if, say, you’re drafted onto a Washington Wizards team run by a competitive maniac named Michael Jordan, who shatters your psyche and your confidence in yourself from the moment you enter the league (sorry, Kwame).
But for these five players, the stars will align in 2016-17, and they’ll find themselves in prime position to achieve what so many before them for whatever reason couldn’t: a full-fledged breakout year.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks