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Nikola Jokic Fails to Outshine 2 European NBA Veterans as Toni Kukoc Drops Sour Verdict



Nikola Jokic is the captain of the Denver Nuggets, but notably, he is one of the best players in the NBA right now. The Serbian sensation has taken the league by storm over the last few years. Jokic is likely to win his third MVP in four seasons, but even then, a former Chicago Bulls star believes that he has a lot left to prove. Isn’t that quite surprising?

To back his statement, the 3x Bulls champion also drew comparisons with former Boston Celtics center Dino Radja and Sacramento Kings ex-GM Vlade Divac to put Jokic below the table. Toni Kukoc, a key teammate of Michael Jordan who helped with his second three-peat, made news today for his surprising Nikola Jokic comparison.

Kukoc shared, “Despite the statistics, Jokic isn’t at the level of [Vlade] Divac and Dino [Radja] in the center position…30 years ago, Divac surprised America with the way he handled the ball while being this tall. Radja when it comes to how he could catch the ball under the basket and reach the other side of the court to score.”


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The Bulls icon believes there is still some scope for improvement, despite Jokic averaging 26.1 points, 12.2 rebounds, and 8.9 assists. But at the same time, Kukoc credited the Nuggets superstar for excelling in the game at his own pace. He added, “Jokic is not an athlete, he doesn’t run as fast as American college players, but he has an incredible ability to get the game into a rhythm that suits him…He scores, assists, and catches balls, all in his own ‘mode’.”

Well, Toni Kukoc did give Nikola Jokic his flowers, but he is expecting more from the two-time NBA MVP. But why did he pull in Vlade Divan and Dino Radja to compare?


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Dwelling deep into one of the NBA’s most infamous European superstar

Dino Radja played just four seasons in the NBA, from 1994 to 1997. All four seasons, Radja played for the Boston Celtics, and his versatile numbers were not spoken about a lot back then or even now. In his four years in the NBA, Radja averaged 16.7 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks. Before the NBA, he won the 1987 U19 FIBA World Cup, by defeating Team USA twice in the tournament. What’s noteworthy is that Radja, Toni Kukoc, and Vlade Divac all played together in the U19 FIBA World Cup for Team Yugaslovia. 


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Similarly, Vlade Divac was a menace in the paint as well. In his last three years with the Los Angeles Lakers, he averaged some amusing numbers. The best season of his career was 1994–95. He recorded 16 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 4.1 assists in the 80 games he played that season. While Divac continued in the NBA until 2005, Radja left the league after four years to play European basketball. Kukoc, who has played with the above stars, knows the best about them, thus the comparison with Nikola Jokic. What are your thoughts? 

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