Denver Nuggets are 21-8 this season, trailing only the Los Angeles Lakers this season in the Western Conference standings. A few days back head coach Michael Malone signed a multiyear contract extension that will keep him with Nuggets through 2022-23 season.
Sebian Nikola Jokic and Will Barton who have been instrumental in the rapid ascension of the Nuggets, believe the team will have a good season despite the facing some struggles.
“I think we are having a good season. I think our expectations that we give ourselves are really high, and that we want to accomplish something, so that’s why I think there’s little pressure. I think it’s a really good season for us so far. We are top four in the West, so we are playing good. We can be, of course, better, but we could be worse, too. Me personally, I think we have so much time left in the season,but I think I’m coming back to [how I was playing] last year,” said Jokic during a global conference with the media.
Talking about the head coach Malone, the Serbian said, “Oh, to be honest, he asks us a lot of times, like you can see him talk to players, what you think about this, what you think about that. He knows we are the players, that we see something different. He always has a good play, but sometimes he just asks us what you want to run, what you like. He trusts us a lot, just because this is my fifth year with him, so we go together, we know each other a little bit, so just the trust that he had with us, it’s huge. It means a lot to me and the guys.”
Will Barton has been a prominent player in the Nuggets’ lineup this season. The 28-year-old has just been ranked five in ESPN’s real plus-minus rankings behind three MVPs like Giannis, LeBron, James Harden and one finals MVP in Kawhi Leonard.
“It’s pretty cool to see my name up there with some of the best players in the NBA. But my role on my team is to go out there and compete at a high level and just try to make one play for our team. That’s the whole thing that we focus on. I can’t get all caught up in those type numbers and things. I don’t need to have the same role on my team as those players. It’s pretty cool to be up there with them, but I’ve just got to keep trying to play good basketball,” said Barton.
Talking about his teammate Jokic, Barton said it was a joy to watch the 7feet Serbian in action. “With Jokic, it’s his quest to be one of the best players in the league and a joy to watch. I saw when he came in with no expectations. Now he really tries to be great, and to see him go from that to where he is now, it’s amazing. But if you’ve really watched his development, he’s played the same way since day one, he just now has more of an opportunity, and once he shows the flashes of what he could do, the organization gave him the reins to the team and now he’s able to do it more consistently and at the highest level,” added Barton.