I’ve previously remarked on the only real weakness in Nikola Jokic’s game: his temper. Sometimes it drives him to commit stupid frustration fouls or get himself T’d up, and sometimes it leads to him trying to remove Markieff Morris’s spine from his body. It was the latter incident that I hoped would serve as something of a wake-up call for Jokic, and convince him that it’s finally time to cut down on the hissy fits. After last night’s game against the Wizards, I can report that Jokic is … trying? I think?
OK, yes, Jokic did get ejected from the game after receiving two technical fouls in quick succession, but he really tried to stay calm! At least for a few seconds!
The clip above begins with Jokic trying to defend Spencer Dinwiddie’s drive to the basket, and getting both an elbow to the face and a knee to the groin for his efforts. Jokic obviously expected an offensive foul to be called, but was left to stew on the floor when referee Tony Brothers didn’t blow his whistle. Now here is where the old Jokic, the less mature Jokic, would have surely sprung up, gotten right into Brothers’s face, and earned himself a tech. But the big fella stayed calm, swallowed his rage, and made his way down the court to participate in the next offensive possession. That newfound sense of peace lasted all of 10 seconds before Jokic got tangled up with Dinwiddie on a screen, screamed at one official for not calling a foul, received a technical, and then immediately turned on Brothers to scream at him for not having called a foul on the previous possession. Then came the second tech, and out Jokic went.
Yes, we could all laugh at how quickly Jokic boiled over at one referee and then was helpless to stop himself from antagonizing another one. It is objectively funny to see the reigning MVP of the league get booted from a game for snapping at every authority figure in his field of vision, channeling all the anger of a kid raging against bed time. But let us instead focus on the positives. For a few seconds, Jokic actually managed to hold his shit together, and nobody got body-checked or slapped by one of his big limbs. The road to serenity is a long one, and every small step is victory. Especially when Tony Brothers gets in your way.