Nikola Jokic heaps praise on Joel Embiid ahead of Monday’s matchup: “He’s so dominant” – The Denver Post

Nuggets superstar Nikola Jokic doesn’t ascribe any more meaning to Monday’s national TV game against Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers, but he does hold the MVP-caliber center in extremely high esteem.

Following Saturday’s dispiriting 127-115 loss to Toronto, Jokic was asked about the impending matchup against Embiid, who, along with Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo, likely represents Jokic’s biggest competition for a second consecutive MVP award.

To no one’s surprise, Jokic raved about the imposing center.

“He’s a great player, great,” Jokic said. “Like, for real, great, great player. He can do everything on the floor, who is controlling the game, who is in conversation for MVP and the best player in the league. He’s so dominant. He’s skilled, but he’s so big and strong that he uses that. He’s really tough coverage for every single team in the NBA. … I like to play with the best in the league and the best in the business, but there’s nothing going to be nothing special for me.”

That’s a typical Jokic answer. It would have to be a playoff game for Jokic to concede any particular game meant more than another, but he’s also not ignorant to the head-to-head intrigue. Not that he was being inauthentic about Embiid, but the last thing Jokic would ever do is criticize an opponent ahead of a matchup. In this game, against that player, there’s real, genuine respect.

Jokic and Embiid aren’t on texting terms, but the reigning MVP said he enjoys talking to him whenever the two matchup. There’s no animosity, either.

“He’s always good to me,” Jokic said of their relationship.

He also described a “mutual respect” between the two NBA giants.

At NBA All-Star weekend in Cleveland, Jokic was asked about the MVP race and offered even more praise in Embiid’s direction. Jokic said he’d be happy as long as the award went to a big man. And that might’ve represented the most Jokic will ever stump for himself all season.

Embiid has been hurt the last three times the Nuggets have seen the 76ers, with their last matchup coming on Dec. 10, 2019. Philadelphia won that game 97-92.

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