Michael Malone Raves About 1 Veteran’s Basketball IQ

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - MAY 10: Head coach Michael Malone of the Denver Nuggets gestures during the second quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves in Game Three of the Western Conference Second Round Playoffs at Target Center on May 10, 2024 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.
(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

 

All NBA players are incredibly talented.

They also work very hard, and most of them are athletic freaks of nature, even those who don’t look like one.

That’s why not many are able to take that extra step and stand out from the rest of the pack.

Sometimes, those with the highest basketball IQ thrive and find ways to impact the game from multiple aspects.

That’s what makes Nikola Jokic so special.

He’s not the fastest, strongest, most athletic, or even the best shooter, but he’s perhaps one of the most intelligent players in today’s game.

That’s why, following his incredible performance in Game 5, Denver Nuggets coach Mike Malone tipped his hat to his MVP, talking about how he’s always one step or one play ahead of what’s going to happen and how he’s always able to dissect the opposition’s defense and pick them apart in real-time regardless of what they throw at him (via Troy Renck).

Jokic’s game is simply a beauty to watch.

He’s a true floor general at the center position, and opposing teams simply cannot figure out how to contain him.

The Timberwolves have thrown multiple bodies and looks at him, yet he continues to dominate every single one of them.

And even though it takes way more than just a great player to win in this league, Jokic makes everybody around him better, and he’s the centerpiece of the circuit that makes this finely-tuned machine of a team work night in and night out.

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George Karl Says Nikola Jokic Is Better Than Shaq

George Karl of the Sacramento Kings against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on November 18, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. NOTE TO USER User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

 

There are many ways to be a dominant player in the NBA.

Some do it with their physicality, others with their defense, and others with their court vision.

We’ve seen dominant scorers and dominant rim protectors, and that’s the beauty of this game.

However, when we talk about dominance, often three players come to mind: Wilt Chamberlain, Michael Jordan, and Shaquille O’Neal.

The latter has always taken pride in being the self-proclaimed most dominant player of all time, and while he definitely has a strong case for that, he might be losing ground in the ‘greatest centers of all time’ list.

At least, that’s how George Karl thinks.

Recently, the former Denver Nuggets coach tipped his hat to Nikola Jokic, and as per usual, he took to Twitter to stir the pot with his hot takes.

Karl claimed that Jokic was already better than Shaquille O’Neal.

Unsurprisingly, some agreed with him, and some didn’t.

This is a subjective issue, and Shaq was definitely way more skilled than people give him credit for; he wasn’t just raw strength, force, and athleticism.

Shaq’s footwork was one of the best in the league, and he was also an intelligent passer.

Of course, Jokic is the greatest passing big man we’ve ever seen, and he’s also a three-level scorer — not to mention a great free-throw shooter — which gives him an edge over Shaq.

At the end of the day, we’re talking about two Hall of Famers who marked an era in NBA history, and there’s no need to choose sides here.

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Anthony Edwards Gets Honest About Nikola Jokic’s Game 5 Performance

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - MAY 12: Anthony Edwards #5 of the Minnesota Timberwolves reacts during the fourth quarter against the Denver Nuggets in Game Four of the Western Conference Second Round Playoffs at Target Center on May 12, 2024 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.
(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

 

Nikola Jokic might not be the flashiest or more gracious player in the NBA.

However, every couple of plays, he still does something that makes people shake their heads in disbelief.

You can have the Defensive Player of the Year on him.

You can double him, cut his passing lanes, force him to put the ball on the floor, or even drive him all the way to the top of the arc with the clock winding down.

It just doesn’t matter.

Time and time again, the Serbian big man has catapulted the rock into the basket with 0.2 seconds left on the clock, throwing a high-arc haymaker that looked like it stood no chance of going down.

He also makes plays no one else seems capable of doing, mostly because he has unmatched court vision and can sling the rock in the tiniest spaces.

That’s why, following the Denver Nuggets’ win in Game 5, Anthony Edwards wasn’t even that mad.

If anything, he admitted he couldn’t help but laugh at the way Jokic dominated and gave him his flowers for being the MVP and the best player in the league (via Ben Golliver & Hoop Central).

That’s right on point.

Of course, you have to be mad, frustrated, angry, and determined to get back and beat him.

But sometimes, there’s just nothing you can do against talent.

Jokic has become an unstoppable player, perhaps the best offensive force in the entire league.

And even though he’s not the most ripped guy or someone who’s going to wow you with his speed or athleticism, he’s the most dominant player in the game right now, and it’s not even close.

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Draymond Green Says 1 NBA Playoff Series ‘Is Over’

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 10: Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors stands on the court during player introductions before their game against the New Orleans Pelicans at Chase Center on January 10, 2024 in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

 

Not so long ago, it seemed like the defending NBA champions were getting sent home.

It didn’t look like a matter of whether the Minnesota Timberwolves would win the series as much as it was about how many games they would win it.

Well, if that’s still the case, they’ll have to win the next two games; there’s no more margin for error.

The Denver Nuggets have stormed right back to win three games in a row, including two in the Twin Cities.

Also, it’s not like the wins have been close at all, and it seems like the reigning champions have found their stride.

More than that, it also seems like the Timberwolves got the wind knocked out of them, and their demeanor, body language, and attitude have taken a 180-degree turn over the past three games.

That’s why Draymond Green believes this series is a wrap.

Talking to the Inside the NBA panel on TNT, the four-time NBA champion claimed that the Timberwolves don’t believe in themselves anymore, and a team will always be doomed whenever that happens.

He liked the way Karl-Anthony Towns held his own against Nikola Jokic, but he stated that the way he limped off the floor after not showing a glimpse of pain during the game may have been a sign of weakness and a lack of trust in their ability to win.

He also ripped Rudy Gobert, who talked about how the team as a whole needed to do a better job, by holding him accountable for how Jokic has dominated him despite being the reigning Defensive Player of the Year.

At the end of the day, the game is also mental, and if the Timberwolves have already waived the white flag in their heads, this is, in fact, a wrap.

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Chris Finch Gets Honest About Nikola Jokic’s Game 5 Performance

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - FEBRUARY 06: Head coach Chris Finch of the Minnesota Timberwolves reacts against the Chicago Bulls during the second half at the United Center on February 06, 2024 in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

 

Just last week, it seemed like the Minnesota Timberwolves had finally cracked the code.

Even though he still managed to put up big numbers, they seemed to have Nikola Jokic under control.

As a matter of fact, they had split the season series with the Denver Nuggets, and Jokic averaged the fewest assists per game against them.

The Timberwolves were perhaps the only team that could show Jokic different looks and stack up bodies against him, with Kyle Anderson, Naz Reid, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Rudy Gobert all there to take care of business.

However, that’s all in the past, and sometimes, there’s simply no way to stop great players.

That’s why when asked about Jokic’s incredible performance in Game 5, Timberwolves coach Chris Finch simply claimed that he had an MVP, best player in the world type of game (via NBA).

That sums it up.

You can spend all day watching tape, drawing plays, and making adjustments, but at the end of the day, sometimes, talented players will overcome everything you throw at them, and that’s what separates them from the rest of the pack.

The Nuggets are now up 3-2, and the Timberwolves have significantly deflated since Game 2.

The reigning Defensive Player of the Year is getting moved around all over the court again, and he’s offered little-to-no resistance in the paint against Jokic and Aaron Gordon, either.

Momentum can change in the blink of an eye in this league, and even though they’ve already shown that they can beat the champs, the Timberwolves’ confidence must be at an all-time low right now.

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Jamal Murray Reacts To Nikola Jokic’s Historic Game 5 Performance

DENVER, COLORADO - APRIL 29: Jamal Murray #27 of the Denver Nuggets celebrates after making a basket in the final seconds tom defeat the Los Angeles Lakers during game five of the Western Conference First Round Playoffs at Ball Arena on April 29, 2024 in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.
(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

 

The Denver Nuggets needed to bring more energy than they had in their first two home games for Game 5.

The series headed back to Mile High for a pivotal matchup, and whoever won the game would have all the momentum on their side for the final contest — or contests.

Coach Mike Malone made sure to have the team ready and motivated to play.

However, when it came to the Xs and Os, he didn’t spend all that much time thinking about his tactics.

According to Jamal Murray, the game plan was just to give the ball to Nikola Jokic, get out of the way, and figure the rest out (via NBA).

Unsurprisingly, it worked.

Jokic finished the night with 40 points, seven rebounds, 13 assists, two steals, one block, and a couple of three-pointers.

That’s why Murray didn’t hold back his thoughts on his teammate and the way he performed, as well as how he’s been able to shoulder this heavy load and lead the team right back in the series.

The Nuggets were in desperate need of a hero after falling to a 0-2 hole and hitting the road for the upcoming days of the series, and fortunately for them, they had the league’s MVP and best player.

Jokic continues to make history almost every time he sets foot on the court.

He’s already a first-ballot Hall of Famer, and if he pulls this comeback off and wins the whole thing again, we have to start putting his name among the greatest big men to ever do it.

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Nikola Jokic Doesn’t Hold Back His Thoughts About His Ability

Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets prepares to shoot a free throw during the second quarter against the Miami Heat in Game Three of the 2023 NBA Finals at Kaseya Center on June 07, 2023 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.
(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

 

The Denver Nuggets are back in control of the series.

They won their third consecutive game to take a 3-2 lead over the Minnesota Timberwolves, proving why they’re the defending champions.

Notably, Nikola Jokic has been even better during this winning streak, which is a lot to say, considering how well he had played leading to these games.

Moreover, Jokic has shown a side of his game that we had seldom seen throughout the course of his career, as he’s given us a couple of poster dunks over the past couple of games.

With that in mind, a journalist asked him if that was due to the Timberwolves’ rim protection, in the sense that he may have to be a little more aggressive and emphatic when he drives to the basket.

Instead, Jokic simply said that he was a freak of nature and wanted to show off his athleticism (via NBA).

Jokic’s sense of humor is second to none, and the fact that he says that stuff with a straight face only makes it even funnier.

He’s known for being the greatest passing big man of all time, an elite playmaker, a dominant rebounder, and a three-level scorer, but he’s never been praised for his hops or his athleticism — no one’s perfect.

Even so, a guy as big and strong as him is going to have a couple of posters every now and then; it’s only right.

All jokes aside, Jokic was simply unstoppable in Game 3, and the reigning champions are now just one win away from another trip to the Western Conference Finals.

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Bronny James Gets Honest About Potentially Playing With Lebron

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 10: Bronny James #6 of the USC Trojans looks on during warm ups prior to the SEC Championship game against the Long Beach State 49ers at Galen Center on December 10, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.
(Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

 

The 2024 NBA Draft is turning into a highly anticipated event, but it’s for a different reason than the 2023 draft.

Victor Wembanyama was one of the most touted prospects in recent history, and as a result, fans were excited for the draft, hoping he could make a big impact on the San Antonio Spurs.

There isn’t necessarily a prospect that’s seen as “generational” this year, but there is one player that has gained a lot of attention to this point.

Bronny James turned heads when he put his name into the draft, as his collegiate career wasn’t as successful as many people hoped.

But, after seeing his performances at the NBA Combine, there is a legitimate chance that he’ll get drafted.

There has been speculation that Bronny hopes to link up with his father, LeBron James, on the Los Angeles Lakers.

Bronny responded to this claim in a press conference, as shared by reporter Michael Scotto on Twitter.

“When I get there, I don’t think it would be just like me and my dad. I would be happy about getting to the league, instead of me thinking about playing with my dad,” Bronny said.

Bronny seemed to recognize the possibility of getting drafted by the Lakers, but he had a different take than many people anticipated.

It appears that he doesn’t care as much about playing with his father, but rather, that he could have an opportunity to play in the NBA, which has been a dream of his throughout his life.

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Draymond Green Rips Rudy Gobert After Game 5 Loss

DENVER, COLORADO - MAY 14: Rudy Gobert #27 of the Minnesota Timberwolves fouls Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets during the third quarter in Game Five of the Western Conference Second Round Playoffs at Ball Arena on May 14, 2024 in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.
(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

 

The Minnesota Timberwolves started the playoffs in dominant fashion, going up 2-0 on the Denver Nuggets, the reigning champions.

While it looked like they would steamroll the Nuggets throughout the series, the Nuggets responded accordingly, winning the next three games.

The Timberwolves showed some fight in their losses but were ultimately unable to get the job done.

After seeing the Timberwolves’ performance in Game 5, particularly after watching Rudy Gobert play, Draymond Green spoke to the NBA On TNT crew, providing his take on the state of the team.

“You need to get a stop.  It ain’t we,” Green said about Gobert.

Green believes that Gobert and the rest of his teammates have given up in a sense, a devastating thing to hear for Timberwolves fans.

This team has struggled to gain traction in the playoffs for many years, and this year seemed like an opportunity for them to shift the tides.

While the series isn’t over, as Green mentions, the Timberwolves have seemingly lost their fight to stay in it.

However, they still have Anthony Edwards on their team, who doesn’t seem to go down without a fight.

Edwards continues to be one of the best young players in the NBA, a bright spot for this Timberwolves team every night.

Veterans like Gobert and Karl Anthony-Towns might see the writing on the wall, but Edwards is determined to fight and give it his all.

Will the Timberwolves find a way to pull out a series win, despite Green’s comments and analysis of this team?

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Aaron Gordon Reacts To Nikola Jokic’s Big Performance

Aaron Gordon #50 of the Denver Nuggets controls the ball during the first quarter against the Miami Heat in Game Two of the 2023 NBA Finals at Ball Arena on June 04, 2023 in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.
(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

 

The Denver Nuggets and the Minnesota Timberwolves just faced off in Game 5 of their second-round playoff series.

This was a highly anticipated game, especially since the Nuggets won games three and four after losing the first two at home.

While the game was back-and-forth in the early stages, the Nuggets eventually took over and won 112-97.

The Nuggets have several role players who can help them out on any given night, but this particular game was all about Nikola Jokic.

Karl Anthony-Towns, Rudy Gobert, and the rest of the Timberwolves had no answer for him all night, as he ended this game with 40 points.

After seeing his teammate put this performance together, Aaron Gordon spoke with reporter Troy Renck, sharing his thoughts on Jokic’s big game.

“I am not sure what I just saw,” Gordon said.

Gordon seemed to capture what many fans were thinking on both sides of the issue.

Jokic looked unstoppable throughout this game, and his dominance is a big reason he won the MVP again this year.

There are few players in the NBA that can slow him down, and when he gets going like he did in Game 5, the Nuggets look nearly unbeatable.

It will be interesting to see how the rest of this series plays out, and if the Nuggets can make their way back to the NBA Finals, hoping to repeat as champions.

The road is always tough given the ever-changing nature of this league, but they seem equipped and ready to take on this challenge.

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