Aussie Jack White has the good fortune of an up close and personal look at the NBA’s MVP-favourite every time he gets a call up to the Denver roster.
Juggling time between the Nuggets and G League-affiliate Grand Rapids on a two-way deal, the former Melbourne United gun’s locker is situated right next to Nikola Jokic’s, so the pair spends “a good amount of time in each other’s business”.
For White, who has impressed at every turn in his fledgling NBA career, it’s a “no-brainer” — the Serbian superstar should win a third-consecutive MVP at season’s end.
“You watch him every day and how he goes about his business, his impact on the court, his professionalism,” White said of the 27-year-old.
“His character is such an unbelievable thing to have as a head of your organisation.
“He really doesn’t care about himself at all, he’s so unselfish, he’d rather get assists than points.
“When he scores it’s because he doesn’t have a choice, he’s so good at it, but I think if he had a choice he’d be dropping dimes all night.
“He’s an unbelievable fella, I love Jok, super-funny down-to-earth guy, loves his family, loves his horses, loves Serbia, very low-key guy.
“Just a worker, the ultimate pro. The ultimate guy you want to have on your team.”
White is not alone in his assessment of Jokic — who has won the past two MVP awards.
Plenty of good judges rate him the best player in the league and he is the red-hot favourite to win the Michael Jordan Trophy with the TAB, ahead of Dallas’ Slovenian superstar Luka Doncic, Boston’s talisman Jayson Tatum and Milwaukee’s Greek Freak Giannis Antetokounmpo.
For good reason:
The Nuggets occupy the top spot in the Western Conference, one of only three teams in the league with at least 30 wins, and Jokic is No.1 in a host of advanced stats, while producing a gaudy 25 points on 62.7 per cent shooting (sixth), 11 rebounds (fifth), 9.8 assists (second), 1.4 steals, 13 triple-doubles (first) and 31 double doubles (second).
White had to laugh after a recent Jokic buzzer-beating three against the Orlando Magic that sealed the result for the Nuggets.
“He missed a game and then comes out and has a near-triple-double, gamewinner and he doesn’t even celebrate, it’s just business,” White said.
“He was probably just happy that we didn’t have to play an extra five minutes (of overtime), and got his rest in earlier.
“It’s a no-brainer he’ll get the MVP if things keep going they way they’re going.
Originally published as Former Melbourne United star and Australian Boomer Jack White talks about his time in the NBA