Nikola Jokic adds long-range shot to his burgeoning offensive game
From NBA media reports
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Nuggets big man Nikola Jokic dazzled Denver fans and NBA followers at large with his breakout performances a season ago. From triple-doubles to wizardly passing to nifty low-post work, Jokic has an offensive game that borders on complete at times. Fresh off a 41-point effort against the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday, Jokic is showcasing some new aspects to his game this season.
He’s shooting 43.9 percent on his 3-pointers this season (a big jump from the respectable 32.4 percent he shot in 2016-17) and overall has shown more range on his jumper. Gina Mizell of The Denver Post caught up with Jokic to talk with him about this new addition to his overall skillset:
But the third-year Nuggets center’s latest magnificent performance — dropping a career-high 41 points in Denver’s 112-104 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday night — was anchored by wildly efficient shooting that he refined in his European hometown over the summer.
“He’s got a great rhythm right now,” said coach Michael Malone, who spent a week with Jokic in Serbia. “Most important, he’s got great confidence, and I think you get that confidence by putting countless hours in the gym. …
“Watching him work on his game, I’m not surprised by the success that he’s having.”
Jokic let the ball fly from all over the floor during those sessions in Serbia, working heavily on spot shooting, “pick-and-pop” attempts and shots off one or two dribbles. He refined his stance and started releasing the ball a bit higher in hopes of preventing short shots that grazed off the front of the rim. He also tried to simulate game tempo.
“Your legs are tired, your body is tired,” Jokic said, adding, “I (saw) myself getting better.”
Mizell also notes that Jokic’s confidence and trust in his jump shot hasn’t gone unnoticed by his coaches and teammates:
Yet Malone notices Jokic’s current mind-set more than tweaked mechanics. Jokic’s shot selection has been strong throughout the season, the coach said, and he does not get discouraged when he misses a couple of attempts in a row.
“(Some players) don’t have the mental toughness to say, ‘OK, I’ll make my next one,’ ” Malone said. “(Jokic) can miss, and he’s gonna keep shooting.”
“That’s what we need from ‘Joker’ — just for him to be aggressive,” Nuggets forward Paul Millsap said. “I think it takes a lot of pressure off a lot of us.”
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