Nikola Jokic Is Not For The Haters

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Nikola Jokic Is Not For The Haters 

Post#1 » by RealGM Articles » Wed Dec 11, 2019 1:46 am

Coming off an All-NBA first team selection and a sublime playoff run that brought his Denver Nuggets within a game of the Western Conference Finals, Nikola Jokic showed up to training camp in September looking like a seven-foot mayonnaise sculpture that had spent an afternoon in the sun. If he arrived a bit huskier than usual, no one minded; he was the Curvy Wife of the mainstream NBA fan, and these were Ten Pounds I Like And Don’t Like. Of course, as far as true aficionados were concerned, Big Honey was in the best shape of his life — stalwart, virile, and ready to dominate.


Through twenty games, though, Jokic has been slow and bad. His lowlight reel of shots getting stuffed and passes airmailed out of bounds shows a body that has not caught up to his mind, if not a mind slowing down to that body’s speed limit. He’s scoring just 16 points per game on 45% shooting, 23% from three, numbers Julius Randle can get you in the bloated modern game — except he’s getting to the line less than Randle. “Right now I’m struggling, so coach, he’s a smart guy, he’s not going to give the ball to the guy who’s not making shots,” Jokic admitted last week.


His egglaying has not prevented the Nuggets from winning games overall — in fact, their record is better now than it was this time last year — but it’s been noticeable, which is to say that people are complaining about it. Nate Silver, either an expensive machine that can read a box score or operating one, tweeted his concern. Zach Lowe, a normativity and aesthetics compass for a stunning breadth of NBA fans, recited some numbers before pointing out that Joker is pouting more. Paul Pierce, who I thought didn’t have this job anymore, blamed it on the 24-year-old’s weight, opining even more emptily that the Nuggets aren’t contenders unless Jokic is a top-5 player.  



Shaquille O’Neal used to trigger columnists by showing up to camp at 365 pounds or missing the first quarter of the season with a toe issue because he delayed getting treatment. But Shaq understood that his seasons were longer, so he took it easy in the early going and won four titles as a result. Since then, the practice of stars sitting whole games during the regular season has become so commonplace that the league recently established guidelines in order to keep advertisers happy. Somehow this general downplaying of non-playoff basketball, whether reflected in falling ratings or not, does not preclude fans or media from picking apart Jokic’s performance in a November game against the Lakers.


Indeed, Jokic’s scenic route to virtuosity is the price, nay, the reward of seeing him every night. Only a truly insane person could be mad about load management and wag a finger about Jokic playing his way into shape at .25x speed. How did people remember him anyway, as a Basketball Reference page? It’s Nikola Jokic, the mouth-breathing pudge lord who runs like the sixth grade’s class goalie on the last leg of a suicide in P.E. Expecting the abominable snowman out of the gate isn’t just expecting a different player, it’s expecting another person entirely.  


It’s not hard to read the slump as Jokic pacing himself, if unconsciously. Better, though, to see these doldrums as part of the charm, another dimension of an already uniquely, yes, well-rounded NBA star. Among other things that distinguish Jokic from his maxed-out peers is he doesn’t think he’s that good. Nuggets coach Mike Malone recalled that during his revelatory 2017-18 season, Jokic “would say, ‘I don’t think I’m as good as this guy or that guy,’ and I’d look at him like, ‘Are you crazy?’” Where another player would look at this year’s stat sheet and insist that the shots are there and just not falling, that they will eventually, and this kind of thing just happens, Jokic admitted to being out of sorts 


A rough start doesn’t validate his belief that he’s not one of the best, but after a run like he had — notching playoff averages only previously recorded by Oscar Robertson — they show why anyone could still get it twisted: because when the over-the-shoulder lobs and the quarter-speed drives to the hoop return, he won’t look any different. This bout of late-autumn clumsiness is not a bug of Nikola Jokic’s game, or a feature, but the feature, the aspect that brings his genius into sharpest focus. He’ll work out the kinks — inevitably, obviously. Or he won’t! Who knows? It’s possible that there is no staying the course for him, that the thought of a course has never occurred to him at all.


In the meantime, producing like Julius Randle does generate one positive externality. For a basketball butterfly who piqued Buffstreams hipsters and Dunc’d On listeners and No Hat Boys alike, the recent slander has amounted to a player-haters’ roll call of unprecedented scope. Every subpar start simply threshes his legion of fake devotees further, restores more of this great escaped wonder to its original Hellman’s bottle. Big Honey does not keep receipts, and the next time he plays 65 minutes in a second-round playoff game, no one will bring up his fitness back in November. By then, he’ll be in the best shape of his life, as he will have been all along. 

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Re: Nikola Jokic Is Not For The Haters 

Post#2 » by Lockdown504090 » Wed Dec 11, 2019 5:34 pm

so this article is basically saying it’s okay that jokic doesn’t want to improve his fitness, mobility and athleticism? Curry harden luka the list goes on and on of highly skilled players that took it to another level by improving their commitment to bodies. Jokic got killed by dame and cj for seven games, and has done nothing to improve in that area.You can’t just try to work yourself back to where you are, being a true franchise player is about always trying to improve. You can’t take Denver seriously when their best player doesn’t take himself seriously.
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Re: Nikola Jokic Is Not For The Haters 

Post#3 » by dice » Thu Dec 12, 2019 11:32 pm

where does realgm find these people? wordsalad.com?
harden '17-18: 30p 62%ts
MJ chi: 32p 58%ts

me: "JH almost the scorer MJ is"
notorious MJ water carrier/sack shaver: "dur, MJ have much more bigger career playoff PPG"

wasn't a career comparison, clown. you dishonor MJ's legacy
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Re: Nikola Jokic Is Not For The Haters 

Post#4 » by birdlives_ma » Fri Dec 13, 2019 8:37 pm

dice wrote:where does realgm find these people? wordsalad.com?



for real. I like Colin's stuff sometimes, but they're all like that now. It's like they hire all the dudes The Ringer rejects for being to pretentious, lol
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Re: Nikola Jokic Is Not For The Haters 

Post#5 » by dice » Fri Dec 13, 2019 9:55 pm

birdlives_ma wrote:
dice wrote:where does realgm find these people? wordsalad.com?



for real. I like Colin's stuff sometimes, but they're all like that now. It's like they hire all the dudes The Ringer rejects for being to pretentious, lol

every time the 'top articles' popup window invades my screen my face starts to twitch. even most of the article headlines make me want to punch someone
harden '17-18: 30p 62%ts
MJ chi: 32p 58%ts

me: "JH almost the scorer MJ is"
notorious MJ water carrier/sack shaver: "dur, MJ have much more bigger career playoff PPG"

wasn't a career comparison, clown. you dishonor MJ's legacy
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Re: Nikola Jokic Is Not For The Haters 

Post#6 » by Raps in 4 » Mon Dec 16, 2019 2:07 am

The dude absolutely needs to improve his fitness. For the sake of his current and long-term production.

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