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Toni Kukoc: 'Nikola Jokic isn't at the level of Vlade Divac and Dino Radja in the center position'

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Hall of Famer and three-time NBA champion Toni Kukoc argued that Jokic isn’t quite there yet but also that the Serbian big man hasn’t even topped two of the greatest Balkan basketball figures: Serbian Vlade Divac and Croatian Dino Radja. “Despite the statistics, Jokic isn’t at the level of [Vlade] Divac and Dino [Radja] in the center position,” Kukoc said to Sporski Zurnal. “30 years ago, Divac surprised America with the way he handled the ball while being this tall. Radja when it comes to how he could catch the ball under the basket and reach the other side of the court to score.” “Jokić has improved a lot and can improve his game a lot,” Kukoc, a key player during the Chicago Bulls second threepeat, added.

What’s the buzz on Twitter?

Eurohoops @Eurohoopsnet
Toni Kukoc believes Nikola Jokic hasn’t reached the level of Vlade Divac or Dino Radja…10:32 AM
Eurohoops @Eurohoopsnet
When Luka Doncic saw Vlade Divac he didn’t miss the opportunity to shout a couple of words at him…7:47 AM
BasketNews @BasketNews_com
Luka Doncic waved at former Kings GM Vlade Divac and said “He should have drafted me” 👀 AM

Eurohoops @Eurohoopsnet
After securing the game, Luka Doncic pointed at Vlade Divac and said “He should have drafted me.”
This is crazy 😲 AM
Eurohoops @Eurohoopsnet

Vinny Benedetto @VBenedetto
Michael Malone says he was surprised Nikola Jokic played tonight. Sounds like the right wrist has really been bothering him.
He was probable with low back pain/left hip inflammation. – 11:38 PM
Harrison Wind @HarrisonWind
Michael Malone says he’s surprised Nikola Jokic played tonight. His wrist is definitely bothering him. – 11:37 PM
Ryan Blackburn @NBABlackburn
Final Rotations for the Nuggets as they lose 111-98 to the Timberwolves.
Nikola Jokic: 32-10-5 on 11/24 FG, 0/3 3P, 10/13 FT
Reggie Jackson: 12 points, 10 assists, 4/15 FG, fouled out
MPJ: who I credited early on for his 8 points, finished with 14.
Nuggets drop to the 3 seed. PM

Dane Moore @DaneMooreNBA
Gobert’s confidence in Reid/Anderson’s ability to handle the Jokic matchup is allowing him to time those doubles/helps really well. – 11:11 PM
Christopher Hine @ChristopherHine
Wolves have had a chance to put this one away with Jokic off the floor, but they’ve let DeAndre Jordan feast here early in the fourth quarter, and Denver is within 94-77 with 8:40 left. – 10:54 PM
Ryan Blackburn @NBABlackburn
Some of these errant Jokic passes are clearly fatigue. He’s carrying too much with Murray out.
Murray’s gotta get back healthy sooner than later because the team is going to gas out unless they’re okay with the 3 seed. – 10:45 PM
Jon Krawczynski @JonKrawczynski
I’m going to tell my grandkids that I was at the game where Nikola Jokic threw two bad passes in a row. – 10:44 PM
Ryan Blackburn @NBABlackburn
When Nikola Jokic is missing those layups, it’s not gonna happen for ya.
Time to pull the plug. – 10:33 PM
Michael Dugat @mdug
Harp apparently forgetting that Jokic exists – 10:31 PM
Christopher Hine @ChristopherHine
Officials calling more fouls this half, Naz Reid has picked up two guarding Jokic. – 10:27 PM
Dane Moore @DaneMooreNBA
Naz Reid started a game in Denver last year because Gobert was injured — and he guarded Jokic.
I asked him in the locker room after that game about the Jokic matchup, and remember what he said: “I’m gonna figure it out”
Reid started tonight and was given the Jokic matchup, and… – 10:26 PM
James Ham @James_HamNBA
Vlade Divac is sitting courtside tonight. – 10:15 PM
Ryan Blackburn @NBABlackburn
Halftime Rotations for the Nuggets as they trail the T’Wolves 62-43:
Wolves getting whatever they want offensively no matter who’s out there.
Nuggets can’t score on the T’Wolves without a point guard that can control the game.
Jokic 4/12. Hasn’t played well vs healthy T’Wolves… PM

Christopher Hine @ChristopherHine
Timberwolves hold Denver to 17 in the second quarter and lead 62-43 at the half. 13 for McDaniels, 11 for Gobert, 10 for Ant. Wolves shooting 57%. Jokic with 10/3/5 – 10:02 PM
Christopher Hine @ChristopherHine
Timberwolves were up 7 at the end of the first quarter, and they win the non-Jokic minutes to open the second by 8. They lead 50-35. – 9:50 PM
Dane Moore @DaneMooreNBA
Thought in the moment that it was a missed opportunity to have both Gobert and Edwards on the bench for the non-Jokic minutes.
But the Wolves went on a 10-2 run before Gobert came back in. – 9:49 PM
Harrison Wind @HarrisonWind
Nikola Jokic starts tonight 1-5. Missed a couple shots in the paint that are automatic and has turned down a couple 3s. The wrist might be bothering him. – 9:30 PM
Dane Moore @DaneMooreNBA
I expected Kyle Anderson to start and guard Jokic (with Gobert lurking off of Gordon), but Naz Reid started and is guarding Jokic.
But another interesting/surprising defensive thing is matching up McDaniels with MPJ. McDaniels almost always guards the point of attack.
I’m a… – 9:21 PM
Ryan Blackburn @NBABlackburn
So, Jokic threw an elbow, and Rudy Gobert got pissed. – 9:19 PM
Harrison Wind @HarrisonWind
Nikola Jokic is playing with his right wrist taped tonight. – 9:12 PM
Harrison Wind @HarrisonWind
Nikola Jokic is playing with tape around his right wrist tonight. – 9:11 PM
Harrison Wind @HarrisonWind
Nuggets starters vs. Timberwolves:
Reggie Jackson
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
Michael Porter Jr.
Aaron Gordon
Nikola Jokic – 8:44 PM
Ryan Blackburn @NBABlackburn
I’ve seen a lot of talk from other fan bases about why the Nuggets play Jokic with the starters so many minutes to juice his plus-minus.
It’s not to juice his plus-minus.
It’s to quite literally keep the Nuggets from bleeding out. PM

Isaiah Hartenstein is everything Knicks need (and more): How Nikola Jokic’s former backup became indispensable
(By @outsidethenba)…11:38 AM
BasketNews @BasketNews_com
Toni Kukoc weighed in on whether Zeljko Obradovic would be a good fit for NBA teams/players.
The retired legend also broke down Partizan’s loss to Olympiacos, praising one particular player, and explained why Michael Jordan didn’t succeed as a GΜ 👀…5:37 AM
BasketNews @BasketNews_com
Toni Kukoc and Dino Radja are in the house for the Partizan – Olympiacos clash 🫡🇭🇷 PM

More on this storyline

Kukoc still praised Jokic for the way he’s dominating and controlling the game. “Jokić is not an athlete, he doesn’t run as fast as American college players, but he has an incredible ability to get the game into a rhythm that suits him,” Kukoc mentioned. “He scores, assists, catches balls, all in his own ‘mode’. When he gets the game into a rhythm that suits him, then he can do what he wants.” -via / March 30, 2024
The legend of European and world basketball also made a witty statement about Zeljko Obradovic and his NBA potential.  “It is no secret that he is perhaps the best coach ever, especially in the last 20 years. He also knew him when he was the point guard in our national team,” the retired player told Sport Klub. -via BasketNews / March 29, 2024
“There is no doubt what kind of coach he is. I have no doubt that he would succeed in the NBA. If you take his basketball knowledge, he would surely succeed. If you take his way of communication, I don’t know if the players in the US would survive that, although it’s up to them,” Kukoc admitted.  “The players today are a little spoiled, it seems to me,” he explained with a smile. “The more money they have, the less they play basketball.” -via BasketNews / March 29, 2024
Sean Cunningham: Luka Doncic as he puts away the Kings tonight in Sacramento with his final free throw, then as the final horn sounds, waves goodbye to former Kings GM Vlade Divac seated courtside and says “he shoulda’ drafted me.” -via Twitter @SeanCunningham / March 30, 2024
The Kings infamously selected Marvin Bagley III over Doncic during the 2018 NBA Draft. Kings executive Vlade Divac made the call, passing up on his fellow Balkan native for the Duke product. Doncic reminded Divac of his draft mistake Friday towards the end of the Mavericks’ 107-103 win over the Kings at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, Calif. With four second left in the contest, Doncic sank a free throw to put the Mavs up by four. The Kings took a timeout, which gave Doncic the chance to wave goodbye to Divac while walking toward the Mavs’ bench. Doncic then appeared to repeatedly mutter “he should have drafted me” once the Mavs star got to the sideline. -via Larry Brown Sports / March 30, 2024
However, there is still no certainty that Jokic will be able to suit up for Serbia for the Olympics, according to former NBA big man and current Serbia basketball executive Vlade Divac. “Well, first of all, we don’t have a confirmation yet. Obviously, it’s a long season, you know, and we have to give him more time to see how his body is going to react after the season,” Divac told Brian Geltzeiler and Eddie A Johnson while appearing recently on SiriusXM NBA Radio. “But if he does play, that would be huge. You know, he’s he’s a hero over there. He’s obviously one of the best in my mind, the best player in the league right now. So he would be great, great peeling for entire nation if he is part of the team,” Divac added. -via Clutch Points / March 5, 2024
Ryan Blackburn: Nikola Jokic on whether the Nuggets need the 1 seed or not: “I really don’t know. If you want to pick and choose who we’re going to play, I think that’s not a good thing. I never did that. I think you should go there and win every game and beat the best, probably.” “I just want… -via Twitter @NBABlackburn / March 30, 2024



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