Nuggets coach Mike Malone says he’d love to play with Nikola Jokic

3 min. read
Center Nikola Jokić at the Denver Nuggets press day, Sept. 26, 2016. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) pepsi center; nuggets; basketball; sports; kevinjbeaty; denver; colorado; denverite;

I'm not sure what you're doing right now. Maybe you're still at home for the holidays. Maybe you had to return to work and are wondering why, God, why did I have to go back to work before the New Year? Maybe, just maybe, you're at the zoo with your significant other or son or daughter or cousin. It seems like it's a little cold to go to the zoo, but hey, you've got time off, why not go to the zoo?

Wherever you are, I need you to stop what you're doing. Just completely stop for a minute or two and watch some of the passes Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic made in his team's 105-103 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday.

Like this bounce pass he threaded to Gary Harris for a dunk in the first quarter.

Or this drop-off pass he made to Kenneth Faried later in the quarter.

Or this bounce pass he made to Emmanuel Mudiay in the halfcourt that crept jussssst past the outstretched arm of Gorgui Deng.

Or this — well, you get the point. I'll just be quiet now and let the beauty of these babies wash over you.

Jokic finished with 11 assists to go along with 16 points and eight rebounds in 34 minutes.

“Nikola Jokic was Nikola Jokic," Nuggets coach Mike Malone said after the game. "It’s become a regular thing for him to go out there and get double-digit assists.”

“I don’t know if there’s a ceiling for him or not. I just know that I’d love to play with him. If you listen to our bench we’re always saying, ‘Cut, cut, cut.’ If you cut, there’s a good chance he will find you. You’re going to have a layup. Emmanuel got two or three tonight. All our guys got a couple layups. Sixteen points, 11 assists and eight rebounds. He’s just getting better and better. Great game from him.”

In a game loaded with young talent, Jokic looked like the best player on the court. Jokic has thrived since Malone made him the full-time starting center against the Portland Trail Blazers on Dec. 15. He's averaged 15.3 points on 67.1 percent shooting, 8.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists in the seven games during that stretch.

The Nuggets are outscoring opponents by 11 points per 100 possessions with him on the floor and have gone 5-2 since the lineup shakeup. Denver looks like a different team since it started making Jokic the focal point of its offense.

I hope you enjoyed watching those passes. There should be plenty more to come in the future; Jokic is only 21 years old. You can go back to doing whatever it was you were doing at the zoo now.

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