Nuggets Head Coach Michael Malone Had The Perfect Answer To Why People Hate On Nikola Jokic
Unless you've been living under a rock recently, whether you turn on your TV or check your timeline, chances are you're going to come across some very weird "hate" or "slander" when it comes to Nikola Jokic. It's reached the point where talking heads are flat out making up narratives about the guy as a way to invalidate what he's doing on the floor. It's very, very odd.
I always found it weird how a guy who might be the least dramatic superstar in the NBA is somehow the focus of all this drama, and the only thing he does to contribute to it is be the best basketball player on the floor. When's the last time you saw Jokic in a commercial? Or have a viral social campaign? Or literally give a shit about anything other than winning and getting to the Finals? He's basically just like Giannis in that regard, and yet people still have a hard time accepting Jokic's dominance. Why is that?
If you ask Nuggets Head Coach Michael Malone, he has a pretty good idea as to why
When you think of it this way, I think it starts to make sense. It's part jealousy, but also because guys who look like Jokic in no way should be this dominant. He looks the best athletes in the world in the eye, guys who are physical specimens who spent years dedicating themselves to being in superhuman shape, they step on the floor with this kind of chunky, kind of slow white dude and he absolutely destroys them. That has to be a hit to their ego.
It's almost as if everyone is mad Jokic is that good instead of just appreciating his unique greatness. Jokic would rather ride his horses than work out, and even still nobody has an answer for him. I'm just glad Malone said it. Just because Jokic goes against the norm in terms of what usually dominates the NBA doesn't mean you need to create narratives just to make it seem like what he's doing isn't as impressive.
If Jokic had the frame of Giannis, do you think people would be this upset about his MVPs? I don't think so. People would say
"Well yeah, he's this unstoppable physical specimen with the production to match"
But because Jokic may not look the part to some, they can't handle it. To me, that's what I enjoy most about his dominance. It shouldn't be possible, yet it gets better every year. The guy has ONE game this season shooting under 50%. One. Of all the crazy Jokic stats, that one might be the wildest. If you're wondering when it happened, his 3-10 showing game in the 6th game of the season. You know that matchup w/ Embiid when he got "outplayed"? Jokic still finished with 24 points on 8-12 shooting. It's flat out ridiculous.
Looking ahead to the postseason, I love the pressure comments like this from Malone and a potential 3 straight MVPs puts on both Jokic and the Nuggets. It makes things so much more interesting because expectations change. With the Nuggets being legit contenders and Jokic being this dominant, the Nuggets now have to come through. That's going to make for GREAT theatre in a few months once the playoffs start.