Will Barton used to tell Nikola Jokic that the two of them were like Kobe and Shaq. If you were to ask Barton about it, he probably wouldn’t laugh at the comparison. Barton was one of the first players to hop in Jokic’s corner, realizing the talent the Serbian big man had. Today the duo kicked off their 4th season playing together. Here is what they had to say about day one of Denver Nuggets training camp.

Nikola Jokic

On Isaiah Thomas

He was pumped up. He didn’t work out today. He didn’t play but he as on the sideline really pumped up. He was cheering and he was talking…some words I don’t want to say.

You can see, he is always teaching the guys, especially the young guys. He’s always trying to help someone because he was the top player. He averaged 30 one moment. There is not a (lot of) players that can actually do that.

On what he’s learned from Paul Millsap

I learn a lot from Paul. Just to take my time, to be patient. Kind of learn the game and make your opponent go your way.

He just told me, ‘just go dunk it.’ I kinda tied to…he was injured so I wanted to bring him back. Not Bring him back but get comfortable. In one moment he said just go play your game.

In addition to saying that Millsap is “like a panther” on defense, Jokic also said that he wants to be an all-star. I could be wrong but this is the first time I can recall Jokic saying anything along those lines. He was asked what was the next step for him and he said individually to make an all-star team, and as a team to win a championship.

Will Barton

On Nikola Jokic

I’ve seen him grow a lot. Obviously his game, that’s obvious. He’s grown into a heck of a player. I’m just talking more his leadership has grown more, he’s becoming more vocal, and he’s taking the game even more serious. And with a guy is that talented, that’s scary.

On Jokic’s next step

Keep being more assertive. Keep coming into his own. Embracing who he is, which is one of the best players in the NBA. He can do whatever he wants to do. It’s not just about his scoring, it’s about everything. His rebounding, his playmaking. Whatever he wants to do he’s going to do it.

On Isaiah Thomas

I talk to Isaiah a lot. Even today during the scrimmages, he’s on the sideline I’m talking to him and asking him what he sees and he’s telling me certain things he sees. He’s been in the league a long time and he’s been on winning teams and he’s played at a high level so anything he says I try to listen to.

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