While Denver Nuggets head coach Mike Malone spoke to the media, San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich had some fun.
In a return from the All-Star break, the San Antonio Spurs dropped a game to the Denver Nuggets, which marked the fourth consecutive one they lost and narrowed the Western Conference standings. It was in the midst of Rudy Gay’s return and Kawhi Leonard’s continued absence, but with standout performances from LaMarcus Aldridge and Patty Mills.
However, the story was Nuggets star Nikola Jokic, who has become one of the NBA’s best centers. He put up a triple-double, with 28 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds in 34 minutes to carry his team to a three-point win.
After the game, Denver head coach Mike Malone spoke to the media about Jokic, and said he should be an MVP candidate. Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, who coincidentally walked by as this was said, and jokingly responded with one word:
Pop crashed Mike Malone’s interview ?
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 24, 2018
Never change, Pop. Never change. Even after the team’s fourth consecutive loss, two of which went to Malone’s Nuggets in back-to-back games across 10 days.
It can’t hurt to have some fun with this, especially with the team’s recent slide. Of course, Popovich may actually think Jokic deserves more recognition, and did a playful disagreement here, to hide his sentiment.
At just 23 years old, Jokic continues to impress as one of the league’s top big men. Through 52 games, he has averaged 17.2 points, 10.6 rebounds and 6 assists, all of which are career-high marks in his three-year career. These numbers may improve with age, raise his stock in the NBA and be a problem for the Spurs to deal with, for the next 10-12 years. Maybe an MVP award follows the Serbian star, too.