Kentavious Caldwell-Pope played with LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers from 2018-21, and this is the first season the 10-year veteran has played alongside Nikola Jokic on the Denver Nuggets. Naturally, Caldwell-Pope was asked how the superstars compare.
“I feel like the only difference is that Bron can jump higher than Jokic,” the 2020 NBA champ replied. Athleticism is an astute observation. Joker is 6-foot-11, 285 pounds, whereas James is 6-foot-9, 250 pounds. Jokic has only played at center throughout his eight-year NBA career, while the four-time MVP has played all five positions.
Per multiple NBA betting sites, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and the Nuggets hold second-shortest odds to win the championship. Sportsbooks are giving the Boston Celtics better odds to win this season’s title.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has played with both LeBron James and Nikola Jokic. Here’s what he had to say about the NBA superstars who are facing off in the Western Conference Finals ⬇ #MileHighBasketball
GAME STORY: https://t.co/V7jN9LpXZm pic.twitter.com/q9MdtVoil2
— 9NEWS Sports Denver (@9NEWSSports) May 17, 2023
Following the Nuggets’ 132-126 win over the Lakers in Game 1 of the 2023 Western Conference Finals, a reporter made a comparison between Nikola Jokic and LeBron James after hearing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s response.
“That’s really offensive,” Jokic replied. “I’m joking. I mean, to be compared to one of the best ever — or the best ever — I think is really cool. … We affect the game in different ways. But he’s a really good player.”
Jokic ended his Game 1 performance with 34 points, 21 rebounds, 14 assists, and two blocks in 43 minutes of action. Plus, five-time All-Star shot 12-of-17 (70.6%) from the field and drained three 3-pointers.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope believes the biggest difference between LeBron James and Nikola Jokic is that ‘Bron can jump higher’
The Nuggets center recorded his fourth career playoff game with at least 30 points, 15 rebounds, and 10 assists, the most in NBA history. He’s also the first player in NBA playoffs history to post a 30-point triple-double on 70% shooting in consecutive games.
Jokic became the first player with 10 boards, five assists, and two blocks in any quarter over the last 25 years. Meanwhile, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope closed out his outing with 21 points, two boards, three assists, two steals, and one block in 36 minutes. He finished 9-of-17 (52.9%) shooting from the floor.
“That’s really offensive.
-Nikola Jokic, asked about KCP saying the only difference between him and LeBron James is that LBJ jumps higher… but Joker adds in seriousness:
“To be compared with one of the best ever, or the best ever, I think it’s really cool.” pic.twitter.com/0rLJglWrhj
— Joel Rush (@JoelRushNBA) May 17, 2023
LeBron James contributed 26 points, 12 rebounds, and nine assists for the Lakers. Denver outscored them in every quarter except the fourth. It was the Nuggets’ first Game-1 win against L.A. since 1979. James has won his last 20 playoff series in which his team won the opener. But L.A. has Denver’s number.
Moreover, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is averaging 11.4 points, 3.2 boards, 1.8 assists, 1.4 steals, and 33.4 minutes per game through 12 starts this postseason. The former Laker is shooting 48.5% from the field and 38.9% from 3-point range as well.