Like Will Barton, Jokic has a personality we love.
You can’t help but smile at Jokic, when he’s happy. Can’t help but be concerned when he’s not. Jokic is an emotional guy and for the most part, it’s a delight to observe.
I watched him leaving the floor after a loss last season, he stopped, smiled and signed autographs for everyone hanging over the rails. It was genuine and you could see the response from the fans.
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For a guy that had teammates erupting in laughter at a between-the-legs dunk attempt at Denver’s San Diego training camp, Jokic’ basketball prowess in Denver is unquestioned. He can’t jump, is kind of goofy, tells the corniest yet funniest jokes and is great at self-analysis. The lack of athleticism is almost hypnotic, lulling opponents into believing he can be physically overpowered.
So far, he’s shown that he can’t. He improves every season, he recovers from slumps with incredible rebounds. He’s already touted as the best passing big man of this generation and perhaps ever. Statistically, he’s doing things that haven’t been done since Wilt Chamberlain.
Through it all, he remains genuinely modest and approachable. Among the physically gifted Nuggets roster, it’s Jokic that captures our imagination. We’ve asked Murray to keep his edge to help his team but Nikola doesn’t have an edge. He’s soft and thoughtful but don’t mistake that for weakness, he dropped a triple-double on Oklahoma City in under a quarter of play.
Nikola’s version of nasty is to drop an offensive deluge on opponents and that’s just fine with us. We love that about him.