By Eurohoops team / email@example.com
Nikola Jokic wants to built a legacy at the Denver Nuggets that will be equivalent to what Tim Duncan achieved with the San Antonio Spurs. For that to happen, of course, the Serbian center realizes that he needs to bring some rings to the franchise.
“It’s really nice to be here,” Jokic said. “I want to be the Tim Duncan of the Denver Nuggets. But I need to win a couple of championships to be him. I like the city, organization, the people. I really enjoy it here. I don’t want to change anything.”
Back in July, Jokic signed a record-breaking $264 million supermax deal to stay committed to the Nuggets at least until 2027. When asked if he wants to eventually retire with the team, he responded: “I don’t want to say ‘yes”‘ and then something happens,” in a slightly humorous fashion.
Like fellow European NBA superstars Giannis Antetokounmpo and Luka Doncic, Jokic played in the 2022 EuroBasket. And, similarly to them, his national team didn’t manage to win a medal despite being considered a contender.
During the Milwaukee Bucks‘ Media Day, Giannis discussed why basketball in Europe can be tougher than in the NBA. His successor as back-to-back NBA MVP agrees.
“It’s different,” Jokic said. “Of course, it’s a little bit because of the rules. A little bit with the spaces on the floor, the 3-point line. There’s no [defensive] three-second violation in the key. The floor is smaller. The big man can be in the paint. It was interesting. New, old experience. I didn’t play for the national team for a long time.
“Is it harder? Yes because I think you really need to have quick thinking,” Jokic added. “In the NBA if you go by the guy you can see the help [defense] is coming. In Europe, the help is always there. So you need to think, play ahead.”
It was a busy summer for Jokic but he was happy with a time that was “well-spent,” as he specifically mentioned. “Being around my family, my daughter, my wife. Horses, friends.
“I did play in the EuroBasket so I didn’t have a complete offseason,” Jokic said. “But I think I had time to rest. I usually don’t take that much of a break.” He added that he’s not sure how the EuroBasket will affect his form in the start of the season. “The worst season beginning of my season was probably after the World Cup in China. But I think I’m good right now.”
Naturally, Jokic also had a couple of jokes. “I think I need a little bit of time to go back to speaking English and then I’ll be a little bit more vocal,” he replied when told that Nuggets coach Mike Malone wants to challenge him to be a more vocal leader.