Much of the basketball world has fallen in love with Denver Nuggets big man Nikola Jokic and it is easy to see why. After all, the 22-year-old center put together a sophomore season that was out of this world in 2016-2017 and it came in the form of a thoroughly pleasing viewing experience.
However, it appears that reigning NBA MVP Russell Westbrook isn’t in line to lob accolades in Jokic’s direction and that manifested in the form of a hiccup on Tuesday. The Thunder and Nuggets faced off in a preseason tilt and, in the early going, Westbrook elected to blast Jokic with a shoulder check to the chest in the middle of a half-court set.
It seems as if Westbrook took umbrage to the way Jokic attempted to fight through a screen and, even if his reaction was likely unjustified, it was certainly noteworthy. Westbrook and Jokic don’t exactly have a long history of documented interactions like this one but, as noted above, Oklahoma City’s centerpiece is well known for his intensity and Westbrook could just be ramping up to reach his midseason form.
Russell Westbrook doesn’t do anything casually and that apparently extends to setting screens with vigor in the preseason.