By Eurohoops team/ email@example.com
Nikola Jokic is having another brilliant season, winning monthly MVPs, averaging triple-doubles, and paving the way to a historic third-in-a-row MVP award.
Recently, certain US media members, like former Boston Celtics center Kendrick Perkins, accused Jokic of stat-padding. The Denver Nuggets head coach Mike Malone had a perfect answer.
“Nikola does great without a stat pad. Nikola is the central hub in everything we do on the offensive end of the floor. Just because he’s that skilled to be a 10-assist per game center, don’t hold that against him. He’s going to make the right play. The most important thing is this – I know we’re 24-0 when he has a triple-double,” Malone said.
He didn’t stop there.
“People want to construe that as stat padding. Well, I hope he continues to do it. When he gets triple-doubles, we win,” Malone continued. “When he contributes in all those different ways, we can play at a much higher level. What’s our record when he doesn’t get a triple-double? (.500) There in and of itself speaks of his greatness and the importance to continue and pad his stats,” the Nuggets‘ head coach added.
Malone assures that Nikola is playing for his team, not himself.
“I do know from my eight years, and I do know from my conversations with Nikola that the individual awards are not what drives Nikola. When he wakes up in the morning, he goes, ‘yeah, 3-time MVP, I got this’ no, it’s how we’re going to beat Memphis tomorrow night. I think after a while, for whatever reason, maybe it’s because of greatness. Teams hate the dude because the dude’s been great for a long time.”
Jokic’s head coach saved best for the last, adding that it just isn’t in a Serbian player’s nature to pump numbers, even though Nikola recently ironically said that it’s easy for him to record triple-doubles “when he is stat-padding.”
“So maybe they’re just tired of this player, a non-athletic player from Sombor, Serbia, who continues to kick everybody’s ass. Maybe people have a hard time with that; I don’t know. For him to say that ‘you know, I’m padding my stats,’ probably signals that maybe something touched a nerve. He knows he’s a basketball purist. He’s not doing anything to pump his numbers; it’s not in his nature,” Mike Malone concluded.