Nikola Jokic is a uniquely-gifted, supremely talented big man whose skill set is something the league has certainly never seen before at his size. The Denver Nuggets star may be one-of-a-kind, but there's another name that he may very well be cut from the same cloth with – Dirk Nowitzki.
The Dallas Mavericks icon did things at his size that seemed unfathomable at the time, just like Jokic does now for the Nuggets. Not to mention that they're both goofy, European post players who are tough as nails.
After the Nuggets' 103-89 loss to the Mavs on Monday night, Jokic was asked about his thoughts on Dirk Nowitzki.
Via Mike Singer:
“He's one of the few guys that are playing for one team for their whole career,” Jokic said. “… I really, really admire him for that. … He didn't abandon the team.”
If there's one trait that Nuggets fans how Nikola Jokic could emulate from Dirk, it's his loyalty to a singular franchise. Nowitzki played 21 seasons in the NBA, all for the Dallas Mavericks, though highs, lows, and a 2011 NBA championship somewhere in between.
Despite Jokic playing like his MVP self this season, the Denver Nuggets have hit some turbulent waters this season. Jamal Murray has yet to return from his ACL tear from last season. Michael Porter Jr. is out indefinitely after his back issues once again resurfaced. This may not be the season that Denver will be at full strength.
If Nikola Jokic truly admires Dirk Nowitzki's loyalty the way he says he does, the man may very well be willing to wait for his moment. The Nuggets just need to hold their end of the bargain and do everything in their power to give him the help he needs.