Ryan Saunders can ‘go on and on’ praising Nikola Jokic

2023-05-27T14:00:01+00:00 2023-05-27T14:04:26+00:00.

Giannis Askounis

27/May/23 14:00


Awaiting NBA Finals opponent, the Denver Nuggets and Nikola Jokic are prepping to compete for the first championship in franchise history

By Johnny Askounis/ info@eurohoops.net

Nikola Jokic has become synonymous with success at the Denver Nuggets. Four wins away from capturing the NBA championship. A huge upgrade compared to missing the Playoffs for five years in a row between 2013 and 2018.

Ryan Saunders, an assistant under head coach Michael Malone and himself a former head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves, praised the Serbian superstar in an interview with Chris Hine of The Star Tribune.

“Oh my gosh, I could go on and on,” he began his description of Jokic, “It’s unbelievable his work capacity. How hard he works every time he steps on the floor. His approach. His commitment. Just everything that he does is with winning in mind. Everything he does is with helping his teammates in mind.”e

The Joker was coming off back-to-back season MVP awards, before falling short this season, despite leading Denver to the top seed of the Western Conference. He ended up with 24.5 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 9.8 assists per game in the Regular Season.

“You can’t help but fall in line in how he approaches it because any time he’s around in the building you want to work hard for him, and he wants to work hard for everyone else involved. He leads by example in so many ways,” added Saunders, “In everything he does, he talks about just wanting to be a great teammate, which is one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen in sports. I think a lot of youth, if they’re not paying attention to him, they should. He has so many qualities you’d want not just in an athlete but in a person.”

“He always gives maximum effort”

Moving into his fifth postseason campaign, Jokic tallied 29.9 points, 13.3 rebounds, 10.3 assists, 1.1 steals, and 0.9 blocks per contest lifting the Nuggets to the NBA Finals.

“I could go 1a, 1b, 1c, but his passing, his vision on the floor. His footwork in the post. How he creates open looks for his teammates, maybe not even with the basketball. He’s a great screener as well — and he’s a better defender than people want to give him credit for. I would challenge people to watch that, because he really is. He’s a much better defender than people ever talk about,” Saunders replied to a question on the qualities of Jokic, “He always gives maximum effort.”

Four days since completing the sweep over the Los Angeles Lakers and winning the Western Conference, the Nuggets have been placed in the 2023 NBA Finals, waiting for the Boston Celtics or the Miami Heat. Game 1 of the best-of-seven championship series will be played Thursday, 1 June.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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