Denver Nuggets franchise building block Nikola Jokic is not immune to being punished for poor play or lack of effort and that was proven to be the case during Tuesday’s game against the Dallas Mavericks.
Jokic played only 25 minutes before head coach Mike Malone apparently noticed a lack of effort from Jokic and decided to bench him, according to the Denver Post’s Gina Mizell.
“It’s one thing to miss shots and to make mistakes. It’s another thing to go out there and just kind of go through the motions” Malone said of the team’s lack of effort.
“Right now, if you’re not going to go out there and give it your all, you’re not going to play. We don’t owe anybody anything. What each player owes is to go out there and play as hard as you can.”
Jokic didn’t have any immediate conversations with Malone following the game but seemed to understand the coach’s decision.
“I don’t know what to say … I think that’s a normal thing” Jokic said.
“It’s a coach’s decision.”
Nuggets’ President Tim Connelly Remaining with Franchise
Connelly met with Wizards owner Ted Leonsis on Friday to talk about the President gig with the team following the dismissal of longtime president Ernie Grunfeld, who had a 16 year tenure with the cluib.
Leonsis apparently made a strong offer to Connelly, but the Nuggets convinced him to stay.
Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic Discusses Frustration with Referees
Jokic has been met with physicality from defenders, and is trying to match that same physicality, but seems to be drawing the whistle.
Jokic spoke about the contact he receives, as well as his view of how the refs are calling it.
“Sometimes it’s really hard because the ball is in my hands a lot and there is a lot of contact there,” Jokic said, according to Nick Kosmider of The Athletic. “I know I’m not going to get every call, but the obvious ones, at least.”
Jokic has a supported in his teammate, forward Paul Millsap.
“It’s a tough situation,” Millsap said. “On that particular play (that led to Jokic’s ejection), he got hit pretty hard. He’s just got to take a deep breath, I guess, and let it go. That’s about all I’ve got.”
Nuggets’ Paul Millsap Praises Nikola Jokic’s Development
Denver Nuggets superstar Nikola Jokic continues to impress with his play and his continuing development, and it has not been lost on the league and his teammates.
Nuggets veteran forward Paul Millsap has seen the improvement in Jokic’s game, notably when the game is winding down to it’s final minutes.
“He’s a completely different player than he was last year especially in the fourth quarter with two minutes to go,” Millsap said of Jokic, according to Christian Clark of BSN Denver.
“He wants the ball. He wants to make the play.”
Jokic is again showing improvement this season, averaging 20.7 points (career high), 10.7 (ties career high) rebounds, and 7.7 assists (career high) per game for Denver.
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