Jeff Green’s bond with Nikola Jokic, Bruce Brown’s seamless fit


LA JOLLA, Calif. – The dispute entailed a veteran trying to protect his reputation versus a newcomer eager to make an impression.

Between defensive ace Bruce Brown and veteran voice Jeff Green, the latter had far more reason to lie.

When asked the highlight of his training camp so far, Brown divulged that he’d dunked on the 36-year-old Green, his former teammate in Brooklyn.

When questioned about it following Thursday’s Day 3 of Nuggets training camp, Green got defensive.

“That’s a (dang) lie,” Green said. “Bruce did not dunk on me. … He can barely dunk. And if he even tried, I’d send it into the second row. He knows better to even say that out in public. … He’s dead wrong. He should be fined for that. Suspended or something. I’m sorry that he brought that to your attention and wasted your time.”

Fact or fiction, the Nuggets have a distinct energy to their camp that’s a byproduct of their veterans. Green, DeAndre Jordan, Ish Smith and even Brown have imbued a comfort to this training camp that’s permeated interviews across the roster. In quieter moments, veterans like Smith have tutored the rookies on what it takes to stay in the NBA. In louder moments, you’ll hear a veteran shouting from across the gym.

If it’s not Jordan interrupting Green’s interview with a joke, then it’s Green interrupting Smith’s. Granted, there’s been nothing of consequence played thus far, but there’s been a seamless blend between the sage veterans and core pillars of this Nuggets roster.

Take for example Green’s relationship with Nikola Jokic. The two went to dinner on occasion last season, exchanged texts over the summer, and then took in the Padres-Dodgers game together earlier this week.

Green said he wanted to learn about Jokic’s background, while Jokic wanted to do the same.

When Jokic peppered Green with questions about the rules of baseball, Green later returned the favor when he queried Jokic about his love for horses.

Green quipped that when they’ve hung out, they’ve inevitably watched horse racing — a fixture on Jokic’s phone. Green’s daughters ride horses, too, so this summer, text messages flew back and forth between the two over their shared fondness.

Jokic is so low maintenance that it lowers the temperature of everyone in the organization, allowing for bigger personalities like Jordan and Green to fill those voids. It’s yielded an easy, talented locker room devoid of drama.

Furthermore, the second unit, Green assured assembled reporters, has more than held its own in scrimmages against the starters.


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