In the aftermath of an ugly loss to the young and inexperienced Cleveland Cavaliers, Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets faced the media looking for answers.
Jokic, who had 24 points and 19 rebounds on the night, was clearly upset with the energy his team displayed and called out the squad for what he felt was a lack of effort.
"To be honest, if we're going to talk about effort, it's (a) really bad subject. ... Effort needs to be there everyday. ... Effort is something that is part of basketball."
The Nuggets are 2-1 on the season so far, so they've gotten a number of good wins already. Last night's performance, though, might have been an indicator of deeper problems for Denver.
Besides the slow, lethargic play of most of the team as a whole, nobody really stepped up to support Jokic offensively as not a single player other than him scored more than 12 points.
With Jamal Murray still working his way back into game shape, it's imperative that somebody other than Jokic steps up as a consistent and reliable scorer for the team.
Mostly, that responsibility falls on Michael Porter Jr., who revealed his goal of becoming an All-Star this season...
“My goal is definitely to be an All-Star this year. But ultimately, my whole goal is for the team to win a championship. I think in order for us to do that, I’m obviously got to be a big part of that. That’s just the main goal: to win and win at a high level,” Porter said in an interview with ClutchPoints.
I was in the running last year [for Most Improved Player]. I think I was Top 3 Finalists last year for Most Improved, so to be a frontrunner for another Most Improved just shows that people see that I have another jump in me that I am capable of taking, so I just gotta do that."
So far this season, Murray has yet to show he's capable of that honor.
Still, he's got plenty of time to step up and prove he can carry the load in wake of Murray's absence. He's averaging 11 points, 4 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game on 38.2% shooting.