Here at the Denver Stiffs, it’s the first ever Nikola Jokic week, and I can’t think of a better theme heading into the holidays. Everyone knows that things in the NBA really start to heat up after December 25th, and even though the Nuggets are dealing with some inconvenient injuries, there’s still plenty of time to get healthy before the playoffs.
Given the pivotal point in the season, what better time is there to feature our team’s most valuable player?
This week, instead of highlighting the week’s events, I want to express some of the reasons I love Jokic and why I think he is such a key player for the team.
Part of the reason I love sports is that I love to watch how teams cooperate with one another to accomplish collective goals. I think I find this so interesting because I’ve worked on many different teams in my career so I relate to the challenges the players face as they work with others to complete their mission.
One of the things I dislike most on any team is a player who is what I like to call a “me monster”. This person is constantly looking for ways to promote themselves, and further their own personal agendas above the team mission. They’ll take credit for others’ ideas, and look for ways to position themselves in front of others even if it comes at the expense of a comrade. In an effort to avoid being negative I won’t mention specific players who do this, but I’m confident we can all name a few.
Instead, I love to see players who are always looking for the opportunity to promote others around them. You’ll see them building their teammates up on the sidelines, and looking for ways to showcase others’ natural strengths—even if it comes at the expense of showcasing their own. While not afraid of stepping up when needed, they prefer working behind the scenes to facilitate the organization’s success because they know that the more successful the organization is, the more successful they will be in the long run.
The counter intuitive thing is that people like this are always promoted, and thrust into the spotlight even more simply because their leadership shines through as they help others shine around them.
I see Jokic embodying this unselfish type of teammate almost perfectly. He has said many times in interviews that he would prefer to set up a teammate for a poster shot rather than take it on his own, and we have seen that play out time and again on the court in the Nuggets’ favor.
In fact, it’s this type of unselfish basketball that has become the working culture of the Nuggets organization, and Jokic should be given a great deal of credit for fostering the environment that has allowed that situation to grow.
I’d like to see Jokic be slightly more selfish in some moments where he had an open shot, but chose to make an additional pass, but I’d rather him err on the side of too much ball movement than not enough.
In our culture of copycats, and lookalikes, it’s refreshing to see those who are completely unafraid to be who they are.
In the basketball world, everyone wants to emulate LeBron James or Stephen Curry, and while those are wonderful examples to follow, I think some tend to compromise their own style in an effort to fit in.
Another reason I love Jokic is that he has brought a very unique style to the Denver Nuggets that’s unlike any other team in the league. Jokic as the point/center has shaped the offense in a way that only works for this group of players making it a very special moment in Nuggets history.
Jamal Murray is really more of a shooting guard, but with Jokic facilitating, Murray and Gary Harris can work their magic to get the offensive blood pumping, and it’s pure magic.
What’s more is that this situation bred itself organically without the Nuggets trying to be anything but exactly who they are. They’ve grown their own superstars, and that success tastes so much sweeter than going out to purchase someone else’s.
REALLY fun basketball
Even though the Nuggets’ offense has been struggling a bit this year, we all know what they’re capable of—especially when Jokic is at the stove cookin’.
Cuts. No-look passes. Amazing alley oops. The type of plays that get fans out of their seats high-fiving complete strangers. THIS is the Nuggets basketball that we know, and even though the budding defense has disrupted the offensive balance a bit, we know it will be back and when it is every other team in the league is in serious trouble.
The Nuggets already sit among the top three in the West courtesy of their defense this season, so I can’t wait until it all comes together.
We have Jokic to thank for these incredible moments that will go down in Nuggets history, and his play-making attitude has spread to his teammates who work to facilitate in his absence.
The bottom line is that the Nuggets are a winning team, but they’re also an incredibly fun team to watch.
This is only the first list I’ll have for you this week so stay tuned for volume 2 later on. I have so many more reasons to share on why I love Jokic.