When, or if, the 2019-20 NBA season is able to resume, Denver Nuggets head coach Mike Malone doesn't have to worry about his key players getting their bodies back up to speed.
"I know our guys have been working," Malone said in an appearance on Altitude Sports Radio's "Hastings, Harris & Dover" on Tuesday. "Seeing Nikola (Jokic), seeing Jamal (Murray) - these guys have been so committed, so focused, so disciplined in terms of keeping their bodies in shape."
Jokic's fitness in particular has been a subject of interest since he entered the league in 2015. Amid a slow start to the 2019-20 season, the two-time All-Star and All-NBA first-team selectee faced renewed focus about his weight, both from detractors and defenders.
Despite his early season struggles, Jokic is now averaging close to 20 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists, and a steal per game. In part due to his second-half turnaround, the Nuggets owned a 43-22 (.662) record when the season went on hiatus.
And in any case, Malone says "The Joker" is currently in excellent shape.
"I mean, Nikola, before the season was suspended on March 12, had lost close to - I don't know - 25, 30 pounds maybe," Malone added. "He was just in phenomenal shape. And he's maintained that, if not improved it.
"So if there are reports out there of a 6-foot-11 lean, mean fighting machine Serbian walking around, I believe it because I've seen it."