Anonymous NBA staffers snub Jokic, one says Denver had worst summer

Aug 30, 2022, 12:07 PM

Nikola Jokic...

Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

The Denver Nuggets may again be caught on the sour end of coast bias.

ESPN’s Tim Bontemps released his annual anonymous poll of 15 NBA coaches, scouts, and executives on Tuesday. The questions rang from the league’s best player to who will win it all in the coming season. And unsurprisingly, the Nuggets caught a bit of the short end of the stick. Still, it’s interesting to see how the league gauges its teams and players.

The poll asked, who is the best player in the NBA right now? The answers were 11 votes for Giannis Antetokounmpo, three for Stephen Curry, and one for LeBron James. Antetokounmpo, a two-time MVP who led the Bucks to a title two seasons ago, and Curry, The Finals MVP from last season, make sense as votes. But for back-to-back MVP Nikola Jokic not to get a single vote is shocking. Especially when you consider that James’ Lakers have struggled for two seasons, and he’s at least five years past his prime.

Last season Jokic was snubbed from this list, with Antetokounmpo and Kevin Durant carrying the votes. But even with the resume building, Jokic lacks respect league-wide, and that may be the case until he can lead the Nuggets deeper into the playoffs.

One of the NBA staffers polled believes the Nuggets will do just that, as one person picked the Nuggets to come out of the NBA’s Western Conference this season and meet somebody in The Finals. Most had the Bucks or Celtics coming out of the East at seven votes each and one vote for Miami. The Clippers will win the West according to the poll, with the Suns and Warriors getting votes. The Clippers were picked most likely to win it all.

A reason the Nuggets didn’t get picked much could be due to their last few years being so chaotic with injuries to Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr., But another reason could be a poor offseason.

One league staffer said the Nuggets had the worst offseason in the NBA. They were not a fan of the trade that sent Monte Morris and Will Barton out for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Ish Smith.

“I really liked the trade they made with Denver. I think it’s hugely lopsided in their favor,” a staffer who thought the Wizards had the best offseason said. “They put themselves in the middle tier of the East … with Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland.”



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