Nikola Jokic may not have secured the NBA Most Valuable Player Award for the 2023 season, but that hasn’t stopped him from playing like an MVP all throughout the playoffs — including a monstrous 34-point, 21 rebound, 14 assist game on 12-17 shooting and 3-for-3 shooting from three-point-land. Though the Los Angeles Lakers didn’t seem to have a defensive answer for “The Joker” in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals, NBA Hall of Famer and 12-time NBA All Defensive Team award winner Kevin Garnett thinks he has the gameplan on how to better defend Nikola Jokic.
“So a guy like Joker, very long, gets his hands on a lot of balls. He has a combination of guys I’ve had to guard in my life. He’s like Dirk and Z-Bo,” KG said on the latest installment of “KG Certified.”
“The first thing I’m finna do, I’m finna initiate the fight early,” Garnett continued. “Soon as you take it out, and you’re trailing? Man, I’m waiting on you. I’m at the free throw line at that end, waiting on you. And guess what I’mma do? I’m gonna bump you a little bit; we’re gonna run up together. I’mma bump you a little bit. I’ll be able to smell your cologne, your hairspray.”
Garnett added in his take on how to defend Nikola Jokic that the strategy has to be adjusted on the fly and that Jokic is such a smart player that you cannot approach him the same way or he’ll recognize what’s going on and take advantage.
“I’ve got to switch it up,” Garnett added. “Next time I come down, I may let him run. Give him a foul. Take one,” Garnett said. “You cannot give him the same thing, ’cause guess what he’s doing? Joker’s so smart he’s letting you come down, and he’s letting you initiate. He’s like a counterpuncher. He let you swing first—boom, bam! Then you adjust. So in that, you gotta mix it up.”
“And then on the offensive end? Ah, nah. We finna run. I’m finna see how good of a shape you are,” Garnett said.