The Denver Nuggets are a team that has exceeded expectations this year, as they are currently a playoff tier team without Michael Porter Jr. and Jamal Murray. Given the injury factor, this has been a fantastic season for them.
Nikola Jokic has obviously been crucial in making that happen, and many people believe that he is the MVP. Nikola Jokic has gotten some recognition from fans and analysts for his play, but Denver Nuggets as a team are generally overlooked. Michael Malone has recently spoken out against the lack of respect the team has received, pointing out that they're the 6th seed in the Western Conference despite missing two max-level players. Rohan Nadkarni of Sports Illustrated relayed the news.
The lack of spotlight is clearly a bit of a sore spot for some Nuggets, though it’s also a balancing act. En masse, the organization believes Jokić deserves more attention, even if he refuses to throw his own name in the ring. At the same time, “Where’s our First Take segment?” isn’t exactly a rallying cry.
“If you spend all your time worrying about the lack of attention, then I’m not doing my job,” says Michael Malone, who has been Denver’s coach since 2015 and is forming the league’s next great star-coach partnership with Jokić. “But I’ve come out and said publicly we don’t get the respect that we deserve. We’re in sixth place in the Western Conference without two max players. Tell me another team that could do that.”
There is no doubt that the Denver Nuggets are a solid team. While it is hard to see them get really far this season in the Western Conference, a team with Nikola Jokic at the helm shouldn't be counted out.
What the Denver Nuggets managed to accomplish this regular season is definitely noteworthy. It is exciting to imagine the potential of this team with Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. back and playing next to Nikola Jokic, and they should be a top-tier team next season.