Now-Los Angeles Lakers forward Jarred Vanderbilt spent his first season and a half in the NBA with the Denver Nuggets, playing alongside Nikola Jokic.
Denver eventually traded him to the Minnesota Timberwolves, but not before he was able to quickly learn that Jokic was “different.”
Vanderbilt detailed his experience playing with the two-time MVP, during a recent appearance on Theo Pinson’s Run Your Race podcast.
“He was just different,” Vanderbilt told Pinson. “Once he realized how nice he was, and the impact he could do, when he was there he was always just super nice. But they were kinda pushing him like, go get MVP… Once he got to realizing he could do that sh-t, it was over with at that point. ”
Well, Jokic clearly came to that realization and never looked back. Again, he’s won two NBA MVP awards and has now added a Finals MVP to his trophy case as well.
The Serbian was sensational as the Nuggets battled their way to their first-ever NBA championship, even beating Vanderbilt’s Lakers team along the way.
He had a monster playoff run, averaging 30.0 points, 13.5 rebounds, and 9.5 assists per game while shooting 54.8 % overall and 46.1% from beyond the arc.
Former Denver Nuggets wing Jarred Vanderbilt gets paid by Lakers
Even though Vanderbilt didn’t get the privilege to play alongside Jokic long enough to win a championship, he’s been able to do just fine for himself.
In fact, earlier this week, he got paid by the Lakers as they signed him to a four-year, $48 million contract extension.
The 24-year-old’s new deal will include a player option in the final year, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
Vanderbilt’s contract is well deserved for sure. He became an impactful player for Los Angeles, after joining the team at the trade deadline.
He’s averaged about 24 minutes in each appearance, tallying 7.2 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game.