Nikola Jokic has been the talk of the basketball community for the past few weeks now. Putting up a historic postseason run, the Joker played a huge role in helping the Denver Nuggets win the 2023 Championship. Adding the Finals MVP trophy and the NBA title to his resume, the Serbian has instantly booked a spot in the top 10 all-time Centers list. Throughout the sensational playoff run, Jokic drew comparisons to Larry Bird from different circles. However, Kevin McHale was quick to dismiss any such comparisons between the European superstar and his former teammate.
Amid the Colorado side’s success, the 6-foot-11 big man has been compared to several all-time greats-Magic Johnson for his passing and Hakeem Olajuwon for his footwork. The two-time NBA Most Valuable Player also drew comparisons to Tim Duncan. Shedding light on Jokic’s Duncanesque humble nature, Michael Malone compared his star player to the Spurs legend.
Kevin McHale is the latest addition in the long list of NBA legends to give his input on Jokic’s style of play.
Kevin McHale dismisses Larry Bird comparisons while lauding Nikola Jokic
The Boston Celtics legend recently made an appearance on The Starting Lineup on FreeDawkins to talk basketball. In his conversation with Frank Isola and Brian Scalabrine, the three-time champ shut down any Jokic-Bird comparisons. Instead, the “Black Hole” compared Jokic’s vision to that of Bill Walton.
“I laugh, someone was saying he plays like Larry Bird,” McHale said. “No, he doesn’t. He plays like a big guy with great, great vision—like Bill Walton-type vision.”
Later in the same discussion, the Hall-Of-Famer praised the Serb’s near perfect game. Stating that it was hard to pinpoint any weakness in the Nuggets leader’s style of play, McHale broke down several aspects of his game. He added during the conversation on FreeDawkins:
“Jokic is going to put up huge numbers because he plays the right way. I find it hard to criticize Jokic. He just plays the game. He makes so many good reads and he makes so many nice plays. The thing I like about him is he doesn’t bail out. If you need a hoop, he’s going to take his big butt in the post and just hit you with his shoulder every single dribble. Then he’s just going to spin off you, and he’s got great touch around the rim.”
Indeed, McHale is spot-on with his analysis on the Joker. A high basketball IQ player, two-time MVP will always find an open teammate. Even though he plays as the team’s primary facilitator, Jokic can go on a scoring rampage whenever required.
Jamal Murray & Jokic’s playoff run drew Kobe Bryant-Shaquille O’Neal comparisons
Jokic deserves all the love coming his way. However, Jamal Murray’s contributions were also very vital for Mike Malone and co. Recording 27.2 points, 6.2 assists and 5.5 rebounds per game throughout the playoff run, the Canadian guard has been an exceptional 2nd option for Denver.
Over the course of the Finals series against the Miami Heat, analysts and enthusiasts from around the world were praising the Jokic-Murray duo. The dynamic pairing was even compared to the iconic Kobe Bryant-Shaquille O’Neal duo for their dominance.
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Receiving such huge praise from the Big Aristotle himself speaks volumes about the two Denver stars. The Nuggets have invested a lot of time and resources on the same core group of players over the years. And it seems like that investment is finally paying its dividends.