NBA Mailbag: What's it like playing against Nikola Jokic? (2023)

NBA Mailbag: What's it like playing against Nikola Jokic? (1)

NBA Mailbag is here to answer your questions2023 qualifiers.Do you have a question for Jamal? Submit it at the end of this issue of the NBA Mailbag.

How is playing against Nikola Jokic? what makes it so good

- by Jack in Denver, CO

First, play the game from a completely different perspective. He sees how to make you make a mistake. Then he will pay for every mistake you make. And he's one of the few players in NBA history to have that ability. Second, you play at your own pace. If you have a smart player who lets you play at that pace, he will beat you most of the time because he sees everything in slow motion. Jokic plays like in the Matrix.

How surprised are you that the Lakers were defeated?

– von Dwayne no Brooklyn, Nova York

I'm quite surprised they made it to the West Finals after starting the season 2-10. I still consider his season a victory.

Is Jamal Murray the player who slept the most this postseason?

– von Terrence em Long Island, Nova York

To be honest, I'm not sure he was still asleep. But he's one of the more unsung stars of the postseason. He is absolutely a star and it showed in his bladder, but the injury slowed him down a bit afterwards. Now he's back on perhaps an even higher level. It was fun to watchTrip. And his name is of course he's got a game!

What was it like working/playing with Michal Jordan?

- by Ethan in McKenzie, TN

A dream came true. Sometimes I still think, "Did this really happen?" During the writing process, my dad told me that Jordan liked my game. And I was like, 'Dad, you don't know Michael Jordan. This is definitely not true."

Fast forward, the Bulls drafted me in 2000 after MJ retired. One morning Tim Grover (Jordan's trainer) called me and said, "Hey, MJ said you could meet him." It was just him, Tim Grover and me in the weight room. I was like a fly on the wall... quiet, nervous and only spoke when someone else did. I was in the middle of training when I got there and I'll never forget he was making those defensive slides and it caught my attention. I wonder, what guy in his late 40s is doing defensive slide drills at 6am? It stuck with me. He then took a break from training and said, "We can train together this summer." I said, "Okay, great" and tried not to cheat too much. I'll never forget going out and calling everyone back home. But of course they didn't pick up because it was already 5 am in Seattle.

Working with him took my game to a whole different level because when the GOAT says he likes your game it gives you a whole different level of confidence. It helped transform my career and showed me what a work ethic really is.

Did you really lose your Mercedes to Michael Jordan in a 3-point shootout?

– by Charlie in Ireland

As the little ones say now, that's the 🧢. This did not happened.

What was your favorite team and player when you were growing up? It's because?

– de Andrew to Oceania

Michael Jordan was my favorite player and the Bulls were my favorite team because of Jordan. When I saw Jordan, I saw perfection as a basketball player. I've never seen anyone who made everything look so easy and at the same time was so great to watch play. I watched his movements and went outside to try to practice them. He would practice his free throw routine and how he moves around the court. Just different things. It stimulated my imagination a lot. I wanted to be like Jordan. I wore the number 23 in high school for him, and I also wore the forearm bracelet for Jordan.

When did you realize you could make it to the NBA? And when did you start training seriously for promotion to the league?

– aus Elmeri in Finland

I realized I could do this when I was 16 and playing the pros as a high school kid in Doug Christie's Pro-Am, now the Crawsover Pro-Am. I've played against the likes of Shawn Kemp, Damon Stoudamire and Cliff Robinson. I was having success and I thought, "Wow, I think I can really do this." Back then, it was just a dream. There was no social media to compare me to. A pro's statement, "You can do it," changed my entire life.

I started training for it when I was a kid. During the summer, I would train three or four times a day just to try to be a better basketball player. So getting to the NBA doesn't happen overnight. All those days on the playground, all those days dribbling in the rain (that's how I got it anyway) helped train me to be a pro one day.

Who are your top five European players in the NBA?

– by Toni in Croatia

  • Dirk Nowitzki
  • Nicholas Jokic
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo
  • without gas
  • Drazen Petrovic

The most underrated player you've played with?

– von Fabrizio em Houston, TX

Joe Johnson ou LaMarcus Aldridge.

What is your all-time senior high school team?

– Owen e Rhode Island

  • Kobe Bryant
  • Lebron James
  • Kevin Garnett
  • Jermaine O'Neal
  • Amar'e Stoudemire

With JR Smith as the sixth man.

When you were in high school in Seattle, who was the best player you played against who never played at a higher level than you think would have made it in the league?

by Raheem e Williston, Florida

Doug Wrenn was the best high school player I ever played against. In fact, he played college basketball for the University of Washington with great success. I thought he should have played 10 years in the NBA. Sometimes the ball bounces a certain way, but he definitely had talent.

Where do you get your creativity from?

– de Aiden em Michigan

Many players watch and then go out to train. I spent a lot of time just working on movements. Isiah Thomas was the first person I saw sitting in a chair and acting behind his back. Once I mastered that, I thought, “Okay, I'm alone here. How can I take this to another level? Oh, I can enter the intersection from your back." I just started building on what I saw and there were so many variations of different things.

But the craziest thing is, I never showed my best moves. I saved them for the All Star Game and since I never got there I never showed them. Now I can pass it on to my children.

Do you feel that one of your movements has gone unnoticed? If not, which is the most underrated? Greetings from Great Britain!

– von Alex in Lancaster, England

The one where I threw the ball around Anthony Johnson, I love you AJ, but I threw the ball around him on instinct. This step would have been a big one if social media existed back then.

"Turn" movement to throw forward and deceive the second defender. Can you imagine that social media existed back then? 🤔🤣🔥🔥🔥🔥#TBT

— 🏁 Jamal Crawford (@JCrossover)April 6, 2023

Who do you think took the brunt of their crazy crosses?

– von Héctor in Hartford, CT

I remember knocking a guy down twice in the same play when I was in college. He went down, I let him up, then I made a play, he went down again and I scored. I was in the northwest.

What was the hardest shot you had to make?

– from Rawl in Romania

I'm not sure if it was the hardest, but it's something I've never practiced. It was against the Warriors and I attacked André Iguodala. He fouled and I had to kick under with one hand. I never took that photo again.

What was the key to so many triples?

– by Jake in Longview, WA

Well, you've seen me play before, Jake. I take some crazy pictures. But I also fired when people least expected it. When they tried to react, I was already in the fire. This allowed me to shoot even though I was fouled.

Which coach/team has taught you the most in your NBA career?

– by Daniel in St.Louis, MO

I would say Larry Brown was the best teacher I ever played for. He was like a basketball expert. I learned a lot from him.

Who do you think had the best style in the 2000s?

–Von Max not Colorado

¡Allen Iverson!

What kind of activities/games took place between teammates during flights where other teams were playing?

- by Nathaniel in Chicago, IL

Most of the classmates played cards. That was the main thing to fill time on long flights. I just listened to music and read or surfed the Internet.

I'm a loyal Hawks fan and I want to know what you think about the future of Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks.

– by Lael in Atlanta, GA

The future is pink. You just have to show stability. I think Quinn Snyder, someone Trae really likes and likes, and Dejounte Murray, a Guardian who can be himself alongside Trae, give them the tools they need to succeed. Growing up with John Collins, I think some really good tracks came out of that. You just have to keep embracing the journey. They set the bar so high with the Eastern Finals that the last two seasons have been disappointing because everyone thought they were going to hit the mark. You just have to keep embracing the path to greatness.

What do you think of Domantas Sabonis? What do you need to improve to level up?

– by Marius in Lithuania

I love his game and how hard he plays. His and Sacramento's skills are on the right track. If they continue to build on what they've achieved this season, the sky's the limit. It is one of the best young teams in the NBA.

What do you think of Anthony Edwards' game? What can you do better?

– von Antoine in Atlanta, GA

Anthony Edwards is a star. I love his game, he's already started doing what he does best: being a leader and continuing to improve his teammates. He prided himself on being not just a point guard, but a master point guard who set the table for everyone, including himself. That's growth you can continue to achieve.

Do you have any specific tips that allowed you to become such an effective 3-point shooter, even if it wasn't a priority in your training early in your career?

– by Alfie in Hertfordshire, England

I've always liked trios. But there was a time when it wasn't really accepted. When I saw that the game was heading towards this, I embraced it even more. So that really changed when I started playing with the Clippers. I knew he would be more involved because Chris Paul would have the ball. To play him and Blake [Griffin], he had to be a lot better at catching and shooting. That's when I really started to focus on it.

The key to improving is simply hitting shots at game speed. This can be crucial for many players because simply practicing good habits will make you a better marksman.

If you could match all of your skills with any other basketball player in NBA history, who would it be? It's because?

– from Te Moana Temu in New Zealand

Michael Jordan for being the GOAT.

Do you have a question for Jamal? Submit below!

Check back next week for another edition of the NBA Mail Bag!

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