Jokic: Serbia is a country that doesn’t like basketball so much; we like to win

2020-01-09T18:23:30+00:00 2020-01-09T18:35:17+00:00.

Antonis Stroggylakis

09/Jan/20 18:23

Jokic also expects Igor Kokoskov to bring “something new” to the Serbian national team.

By Eurohoops team/

Denver Nuggets and Serbia star center Nikola Jokic talked about Igor Kokoskov taking over his country’s national team and the 2020 FIBA World Cup run that saw the “Orlovi” at the fifth place despite them being considered possibly the favorites for the gold medal.

Here’s what Jokic said in an interview with Glas Amerike on:

Serbia finishing fifth at the World Cup:

I always say it: Serbia is a country that doesn’t like basketball [so much], we like to win and that’s the biggest mistake among us. But it’s a good thing, in some ways, because you want to win. That fifth place was certainly our maximum considering what we showed [on the floor]. Should we have beaten Argentina (in the quarterfinals)? They went to the Final, the played really phenomenal. This didn’t surprise just us but also teams much bigger than us. Look at the lineups that were there: An MVP (Giannis Antetokounmpo). literally didn’t pass the Group.”

The World Cup is a different system. One game decides who will advance. It’s said that the first game and the quarterfinals are the most important. We lost to Argentina and here we were. I mean, we lost to the Spanish team too, so maybe that was a turning point. The Spaniards probably surprised us with their mix of man to man and zone defense, where they stopped Bogdan (Bogdanovic) in some way. In fact, they didn’t let us play the way we play.

Igor Kokoskov becoming the head coach of Serbia:

“I’m glad about Igor. He’s certainly someone who can introduce something new to the national team, some new system, new people. We’ll see. Personally, I say again, I never say if I play or not before [a tournament] so I won’t now. I focus on the season and on my games. The Olympics and the Qualifiers are far and I really don’t think about them.

The interview took place a few days before Jokic scored a career-high 47 points in a Nuggets’ victory over the Atlanta Hawks. On Wednesday (8/1), Jokic finished with 33 points, including the game-winner, against Luka Doncic’s Dallas Mavericks.