On Friday night before the Denver Nuggets tipped off against the Dallas Mavericks, Altitude TV aired an interview with NIkola Jokic and Vic Lombardi in which Joker was asked about his future with the Nuggets, saying he would like to be “The Tim Duncan of the Denver Nuggets.”
When asked if he wants to be in DEN for his whole career, Jokic told @VicLombardi on @AltitudeTV:— Adam Mares (@Adam_Mares) February 23, 2019
“Oh yeah. I was talking to Tim Connelly. I can be the Tim Duncan of Denver Nuggets. Denver Nuggets Tim Duncan. Kind of a funny thing to think about but it could be one a reality.”
When searching for the best possible franchise cornerstone, prime Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs is one of the best possible options. Duncan spent his entire career of 19 seasons with the Spurs, amassing over 25,000 points, 15,000 rebounds, and 3,000 blocks during that time. Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar matches those totals. Duncan finished his career as a top 10 player in NBA history and one of the most impactful big men of all-time, winning five championships.
Nuggets fans should get excited when they hear Jokic reference such an excellent player as a role model and potential comparison for his career arc. Duncan was quiet, consistent, and extremely valuable to the Spurs for his entire career, and Jokic has quickly proven to have a similar impact in Denver in his fourth season. If Jokic were to stay with Denver for another decade or more, it would only mean good things to come for the Nuggets. While Duncan and Jokic of course have a different level of impact defensively, Jokic’s ability to operate as a playmaker offensively makes up some of the difference.
Will Jokic ever truly match Duncan? Probably not. But if there’s one player for Jokic to aspire to become, Duncan is the guy.