Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone isn’t too happy about how reigning NBA MVP big man Nikola Jokic is, in his view, being disrespected as his incredible play seems to be an afterthought in the mainstream NBA conversation.
In fact, Malone says that Jokic is “one of the more disrespected reigning MVPs”.
“I think he is one of the more disrespected reigning MVPs that I can think of in terms of the attention,” Malone said prior to Tuesday’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers, according to ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk.
“But if you open up the dictionary, look up the word consistency, there’s going to be a picture of Nikola there” he continued. “That’s going back to the bubble, that’s going back to a 72-game season last year, and this year we knew Jamal [Murray] was going to be out for an extended period. When you add a Michael Porter, when you add a P.J. Dozier to that [injured] list, it even becomes more incredible what he’s doing.”
Prior to Tuesday’s loss to the Clippers, Jokic was averaging 25.8 points, a career-high 14.2 rebounds, 7.0 assists and 56.1% shooting this season. In comparison to his MVP season last year, he averaged 26.4 points, 10.8 rebounds, 8.3 assists and 56.6% shooting.
“I mean, Nikola Jokic is not sexy,” Malone said. “He’s just not. There is nothing about Nikola … his wife might disagree. But if you are a true student of the game, a coach, someone that loves the game being played the right way, then you appreciate him at the level that he should be appreciated at.
“But he is not going to be on SportsCenter dunking on somebody. He is not going to block a shot into the third row. But if you appreciate passing, IQ, reading the game, just what he does every night from a scoring, rebounding, playmaking standpoint, and finally I am starting to hear that he is getting a little more credit as a defender, and it is well deserved.”