Nikola Jokic is a man that lives in the moment and only focuses on what he has in front of him. He has a different mindset and approach to the game and all the things that happen on and off the court, including the buzz about trades and what could happen with other players and teams.
But, not everybody is like Jokic and it seems like some players are thinking too much about their future with the Denver Nuggets. A lot can happen before the trade deadline and unless you are a Jokic, a LeBron, or any other superstar in the league, you can be traded. Well, the Serbian big man urged his teammates to not think about it and called out those who are worried about that, calling them 'unprofessional.'
Following a big 135-111 loss to the Toronto Raptors, who had a nine-game losing streak, Jokic was asked if he felt his teammates were thinking too much about their future with the team instead of focusing on the game.
“I don’t know,” he said, via The Denver Post. “If they are, they are not professionals. First you represent yourself and then you represent (your) team. … If you want to get traded, you don’t play for yourself or Nuggets, in this case. You play for all 29 other teams. It’s something that cannot happen. I don’t see that. I mean, for me, it’s unprofessional.”
Jokic wasn't the only one with a big reaction to those attitudes. Head coach Mike Malone also addressed this topic, explaining that he doesn't want to hear the trade deadline as an excuse for their performance. The Raptors are having a bad season, a lot of their players are linked with a move away and they went and did their job against the Nuggets.
“If you want to be a good team, which we say we want to be, you can’t have performances like this,” Malone said. “I don’t buy into all that mumbo-jumbo trade deadline anxiety, this, that and the other thing. They got guys in their locker room that have trade deadline anxiety as well. Guess what? They went out there and balled tonight.”
This wasn't a good look for Denver. They have recovered their best form and are ready to show they can have a deep playoffs run again but these situations can't happen again. We are hours away from the deadline and now some players must be more nervous than they were yesterday. How the Nuggets will look after this? We're about to find out.