Denver Nuggets forward Mike Miller spoke with The Ringer’s Chris Vernon in a podcast that dropped Tuesday.
The two discussed the state of the Nuggets, Miller’s days in Miami and what it’s like to be the old guy in the locker room. Along the way, Miller made an interesting comparison involving one of the Nuggets’ most promising young players.
“We really do have 12, 13 players that are really, really good,” said Miller, a 17-year NBA veteran. “None of them (are) the alpha dog yet.”
Vernon then asked, to paraphrase a little bit, which one of those players has the best chance to be great?
“I think there are multiple guys. When you have a lot of young talent, it’s hard to pick those guys,” he said. “But if I had to put my money on somebody right now, it’s Nikola Jokic. I call him Joker. I see a lot of the Gasol brothers (in him). He plays a lot like Pau and Marc. A lot like Marc, where he can dominate a game and his numbers are 13, 10 and seven. And to me that’s exciting.”
I can see why Miller would say that. Jokic is a great passer for someone his size, and he seems to do so many different things well. He’s got a soft, feathery touch around the basket, can rebound and has good instincts on defense. There is some overlap with the Gasol brothers there.
Jokic has gotten off to somewhat of a rough start to this season. He’s averaging 10.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists in six games. Many people, including me, believed he’d make a leap this year. So far, that hasn’t happened.
A lot of that might have to do with the fact that playing time is hard to come by in Denver’s front court. There are only so many minutes to divide up between Jokic, Jusuf Nurkic, Kenneth Faried, Darrell Arthur, Juancho Hernangomez and Wilson Chandler, who sometimes plays power forward.
Still, keep an eye on Jokic. You’ve probably seen his per-36 minutes rookie numbers compared to Towns’ and Porzingis’ floating around. A lot of people think he has the chance to develop into something special, Miller included.
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