Denver Nuggets Head Coach Shares an Anecdote About How he Motivates Nikola Jokic

Published 01/20/2021, 11:00 AM EST
Dec 28, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) shoots over Houston Rockets forward Christian Wood (35) in the first quarter at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports


The Denver Nuggets had a convincing win yesterday against the OKC Thunder as they defeated them 119-101. This win sees them with a .500 record with seven wins to their name.

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While the Nuggets have been inconsistent, their star center Nikola Jokic has been in terrific form. The 6’11 center who is known for his playmaking ability has unlocked his attacking prowess this season.

In the 14 games he has played, Jokic averages 25.1 points, 10 assists, and 11.4 rebounds per game. If Jokic can maintain this splendid run of form, he can become the only center to average a triple double since Wilt Chamberlain.

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This special performance over the weeks has propelled the ‘Cookie Monster’ to be one of the front runners for the MVP title. Coach Mike Malone has trusted Jokic with the ball, and till now it has worked wonders for them.

In the post game interview, when coach Malone was asked about how he has motivated Jokic to become a dominant scorer, the 49-year-old had a hilarious reaction. He said, “I locked him in my office one day and I beat him with a pillowcase full of soda cans..”

Malone and the Nuggets will hope that they can find a string of good results. In the fourteen games they have played, they haven’t had over two wins in a row. If they want to remain as a top three seed in this stacked Western Conference, they need to have some better run of form.

Can the Denver Nuggets become a Top Three seed in the stacked Western Conference?

In the last two seasons, the Nuggets have been a Western Conference juggernaut. They have finished as the second seed and the third seed in the 2018-19 and 2019-20 season, respectively.

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The young duo of Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray has worked wonders for the Nuggets who have shown immense promise in the playoffs. Last season they even reached the Conference Finals for the first time in 12 years. They unfortunately were beaten by the eventual champions Los Angeles Lakers.

Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray (27) shoots the ball against the Phoenix Suns in the fourth quarter at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Jokic has constantly proven to be the primary star for the team, but in last season’s playoffs, Murray went off the charts and showed superstar potential averaging 26.5 points, 6.6 assists, and 4.8 rebounds.

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The Canadian has seen a jump in his regular season output so far, but it is not massive. If he can replicate his form from the Bubble, we might see the Nuggets becoming a top three team.

This will be essential for them given that they have lost the output from Jerami Grant and Mason Plumlee, two solid rotational forwards for the team. Jokic has already made a taken the command of the team. Can Murray bring in his ‘A’ game soon and become the second superstar the Nuggets need?

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Aditya Mohapatra

1275 articles

Aditya Mohapatra is a sports enthusiast who primarily covers the NBA for EssentiallySports. Having graduated in Mass Communication, he has prior experience in writing for ABP News, and has been writing for EssentiallySports since November 2020. This die-hard Los Angeles Lakers fan feels that LeBron James is the best thing to have ever happened to the NBA, and will hold a healthy debate with anyone suggesting otherwise.

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