Health And Family

Nikola Jokic brings the Denver NuggeTs closer to a championship

REAL SPORTS SCENE - Anthony Suntay - The Philippine Star
Nikola Jokic brings the Denver NuggeTs closer to a championship
Nikola Jokic relies on his exceptional basketball skills more than freakish speed and agility.

Nikola Jokic is a star in a different mold in the NBA. While most ballplayers are gifted with athletic talent, the Serbian native relies on his exceptional basketball skills more than freakish speed and agility. And his brand of basketball has taken the league by storm, as he continues to bring the Denver Nuggets closer to the promised land a championship.

The Philippine Star: How are things with the Nuggets?

Nikola Jokic: I think we are having a good season. I think our expectations that we give ourselves are really high, and that we want to accomplish something that’s why I think there’s a little pressure. All of us, we miss shots, we struggle a bit, but at the end of the day, I think it’s a really good season for us so far. We are top four in the West, so we are playing good. We can be better, but we could be worse, too. Personally, I think we have so much time left in the season, but I think I’m coming back to (how I was playing) last year.

You rely more on your skills than athleticism.

Yes! I think I brought something different to the NBA. I can do pretty much everything on the floor, but it’s not just me. There are a lot of guys in the NBA, big men that can affect the game in so many other ways. But to be honest, I’m playing like this since I was little. I was always really good with the ball, I was always passing the ball, scoring, shooting the ball. For me, that’s just a normal thing. Coach Michael Malone gives me freedom and an opportunity to play my game and he and my teammates started liking it and we started winning games.

It’s a long season, do you feel the need to save energy for the playoffs?

No. I think that you cannot do that. Every game is important. The win in November is the same in May. There is no easy game. You can’t just skip one game and play harder the next. Champions don’t think like that. We, as a team, as a group, need to go out there every game and every day to do our best and try to win our games.

How has Mike Malone helped guide the team?

He asks us a lot of times. You can see him talk to players. He knows we are the players, that we see something different. He always has a good play. He trusts us a lot. This is my fifth year with him so we know each other a little bit. The trust he gives us is huge. It means a lot to me and the guys.

Do you enjoy the fact that you are now the face of this franchise?

Yes. I love the story, to be honest. I love the journey. The journey is great. When I first came here, they had 26 wins, I think, and then that year we had 32, and then every year we were getting better and better. Just the journey, just the struggle with everything. The fans are getting more supportive. The story that we are riding right now, I think that’s the best thing and I enjoy it a lot.

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Follow me on twitter and Instagram @anthonysuntay.


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