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Vic Lombardi, Altitutde Sports Network Host

JR Sports Brief / JR
The Truth Network Radio
May 15, 2024 8:12 pm

Vic Lombardi, Altitutde Sports Network Host

JR Sports Brief / JR

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May 15, 2024 8:12 pm

Vic Lombardi joined JR to discuss if he continues to be amazed by Nikola Jokic's play and how the Nuggets were able to dig out of their 0-2 hole to the Wolves. 

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Kick off your summer and shop in-store or online at Whole Foods Market today. It's a beautiful thing to see such a unique talent. I can't remember seeing anyone like him.

I don't think we ever will be. And in a comparison way, and it's ironic, this is someone who's told him to his face, hey, I don't think you'd be MVP. Shaq was unique in his own way. Jokic is ridiculously unique in another. Outside of physically, how have you seen him evolve over the last several seasons? I've just seen some things out of him defensively where I remember he was cast as a poor defender.

And I get it. When you watch him, he's not a rim protector, right? So a lot of people look at centers and say their only form of defense is rim protection. That's not what he does. He's not Rudy Gobert. He's not going to go up there and block shots. He's not Anthony Davis. But there are other little things he does.

The subtleties of the defensive play. He gets his hand in a lot of steals. He will move teammates around.

He'll rotate the places that people just don't see. So I think he's been much better in that area. And I think as a leader, he's not a yeller.

He's not a locker room talker. But he has his way of leading. His teammates love him. And when I say love him, they emulate him. They want to be like him. They follow in his footsteps.

And that's a pretty special trait to have. Vic Lombardi is here with us from Altitude TV and Altitude Sports Radio. You talk about his teammates. There's some key teammates, guys like Jeff Green and Brown that are no longer on the squad. What are your thoughts on the depth and how they've been able to pick up some of the slack?

Where are some areas that they still need help in? Well, I mean, the bench, there's no secret here. The Denver Nuggets bench took a big blow when they lost Bruce Brown and Jeff Green.

And there was a lot of talk in town about whether or not they'd be able to replace those guys. But here's the secret to NBA basketball. You survive the regular season with whatever you have. And once you get into the postseason, the bench shrinks regardless. It shrinks.

And it shrinks to a three-person bench. That's what the Nuggets do. So if you can get three guys out of the depth that you present, three guys to play your style, your system, and give you enough, then you will have enough.

And that's where the Nuggets are right now. They've got Christian Brown, who's played extremely well the last couple of games. They have a revelation in Justin Holliday, a journeyman veteran who has filled a wonderful role off the bench. And they've got Reggie Jackson, who comes into the point guard and does his deed. Now, could they be better off the bench?

Of course they could. But I think they're good enough because starters will segue in with those bench players and make it easier. Vic Lombardi here with us. You talk about the mouthpiece of the team and the personality. A lot of it, I feel, comes from head coach Michael Malone.

I mean, a New York dude, it still comes across like he has a little bit of a chip on his shoulder. How does he kind of mold the team and keep them going? He holds them accountable, number one.

Accountability is important, especially at the pro sports level. But he does so in a very fair fashion. He's not an embarrassed every player every chance he gets kind of coach. He's learned.

He's learned. That's not how you can do it at this level. These guys are paid professionals with egos. But he built a culture here along with the front office that they really push to make sure it works. If there's a player that doesn't play within that culture, they won't be here for long. And the culture is one of hard work. It's one of accountability to your own work ethic. And it's one of, hey, man, there's one thing you got to be able to do.

You got to give it your all. The Denver Nuggets starters, I think, played more minutes than any starting outfit in the league. And they don't miss games that often.

There's none of this stuff you see with some of the franchises. That's a work ethic that stems from their coach's mindset. He really goes out of his way to make sure that the players know you got to work to win in this league. And they're outworking teams right now. They've done so in this playoff.

And Vic Lombardi is here with us from Altitude TV and Altitude Sports Radio. Well, they'll be back in action tomorrow in Minneapolis, downtown, to close things out. Do you think they're going to put the foot down or do you think that there's going to be a move back to a game seven? Well, they'll try.

They'll try. And I think if there's one game where I will give the Nuggets the mental edge, the emotional edge, this is it. I mean, you went three straight against the team. Listen, a week ago, a week ago tonight is when Nicole Jokic was handed his MVP. It was a week ago when they were down 0-2 in this playoff series.

A week ago when Shaquille O'Neal, I thought disrespectfully, gave that award to Nicole Jokic. And everybody thought all was lost. There's no way they'd be able to overcome the suffocating Minnesota defense. Well, in that week, things changed in a hurry. They went the other direction. They went full left field. They surprised us all.

They stunned us. Do I think it can flip the other way? Sure.

Sure. It can flip the other way. That's the beauty of sports, right? You never know. But if I were comfortable in the Nuggets winning this series, this is as comfortable as I can be because I think they figured things out. Well, Vic, you mentioned Jokic. There's so much that I think the basketball public, whether you're a hardcore fan or your casual fan, I think everybody's learned more and more about Jokic over the past year. From his comments, from the party to the parade, to the game, to the MVPs and what have you. What don't we know?

What don't we see about Nicole Jokic? What he doesn't want you to see, how private he is and how he despises the limelight and how media attention for him is the absolute worst thing about the NBA. He doesn't care what we think about him. He really doesn't.

He wants to go live his life and enjoy his life on his own terms. And it's sort of the anti-NBA mentality where everything is documented. Everything's on social media. All of your business is out there for people to see.

Heck, we do that on a personal level outside the NBA. He is not in tune with that. He doesn't care about that. He cares about his circle of friends, his family, his countrymen, his horses. And that's how he wants to keep it. He doesn't want to establish any transparency because he doesn't need it. He doesn't need to be loved by all.

He wants to be loved by those who are closest to him. Vic, I appreciate that. Where can people follow you and all of your work with Altitude TV and hear you on Altitude Sports Radio?

Yeah, Altitude is obviously the regional network in Colorado, but you can easily follow me on Twitter at Vic Lombardi, my friend. Vic, thank you so much for the time and I think you got a longer ride ahead of you for the rest of these playoffs. Appreciate the time.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-15 22:25:57 / 2024-05-15 22:30:18 / 4

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