People tend to handle criticism one of two ways. Either they take the criticism in good faith and see about how to improve themselves or they dismiss it and act like the world is against them. Not all criticism is fair but if it is, the best strategy is figuring out how to improve oneself from the criticism they receive.
When Draymond Green criticized Nikola Jokic’s defending on Inside the NBA, Jokic chose to take that criticism to heart and improve his game. Something that has paid dividends to Jokic’s career as well as the success of the Denver Nuggets.
On The Draymond Green Show, Green explained how Jokic listened and improved his defending based on what Draymond said.
— ²³ (@PlayoffDraymond) December 22, 2021
“You don’t just have to crush a guy. And I think one big moment I had on TV was, it was a whole segment I think I had four clips at halftime. And it was a Nuggets game. And I went at Jokic’s defense. I’m like ‘If they’re ever going to be a good team, he’s the back line of the defense he has to be good defensively.’ And I showed four clips. Him not rotating over as the low-man, him not moving, like four clips. And I was very critical of him.”
“He came up to me that following year. He said, he said something along the lines like ‘I saw what you said about my defense’ or something. ‘You were right’ or ‘I appreciate it’ or something he said like that. He said ‘I’ve gotten better.’ And I said ‘You 100% have gotten better. I’ve been watching you this year. And you’ve 100% gotten better.’”
This was an ideal way for someone in the media to help a player at their game, even if Draymond is still an active player. Not all criticism from the media is hot takes and cheap shots. Don’t get it twisted, unfortunately there’s a lot of that. But if an athlete is able to parse through all that and get to actual meaningful analysis, the best can use that to their advantage. Maybe that’s why Jokic is the reigning MVP.