As we wait for the end of this three day recess, the Stiffs have gathered around the proverbial table to spice things up with the hottest takes in their chambers. Plus, the staff offers their suggestions for a new city-wide holiday.
Let’s go in a circle!
The battered Nuggets are enjoying a much-needed break from NBA action, but it’s created a bit of a lull for the fans. Spice things up with your hottest Nuggets take.
Adam Mares: I’ve been laughed at for my Jokic takes every step of the way and every step of the way people have had to admit they were wrong. So now that Jokic is gaining more and more recognition, let me unload an even spicier take that I only half believe but feel compelled to express nonetheless: Nikola Jokic is closer to Larry Bird than he is to any other player in NBA history. Forget the Vlade Divac comp or even the Bill Walton comp, flattering though they may be. Jokic affects every aspect of a game in unique ways that remind me more of Larry Legend than anyone else. His CEILING is higher than people realize. He’s 23. He has the tools to do much more than what he’s shown just yet and he’s shown enough to be in the MVP conversation.
Brendan Vogt: The Denver Nuggets don’t need another star to contend for a title. They just need to hit their ceiling. Jokic has been described as a player who is hard to build around, largely because of his defensive deficiencies—we need to see him succeed in the playoffs first, but I believe that he is in fact one of the easiest players to build around in the entire league. If the front office can continue to fill the cracks around a core of Murray, Harris, and Jokic, they can get there. They don’t necessarily need a Giannis or a KD to win, although that would certainly help. Jokic is that good.
Gordon Gross: The Nuggets will still have to choose between Jamal Murray and Gary Harris, as neither is a long-term point guard without Nikola Jokic on the floor and Denver can’t afford to have their offense fall apart if and when this injury bug Denver has suffered from for years truly descends on Jokic. Monte Morris is showing the difference between a shooting guard playing point guard and having a point guard to fall back on, but Monte will get paid in a couple of years too. I don’t like this prognostication, as I think whoever goes will continue to be a really good player in this league for a really long time, but despite Murray’s 15 assist game I still feel that way.
We’ve got a long way to go, but the Nuggets sit atop the Western Conference and boast one of the league’s most impressive early-season resumes. Are you buying or selling on this team securing home court out West?
Mares: I’m buying. It’ll still be tough and injuries will likely be the most important factor of whether or not they actually get a top 4 seed or not, but this team fully healthy is a lot better (in the regular season) than anyone not named Golden State.
Vogt: Buying. If injuries can’t derail this team then I’m not sure what can. It’s a thin margin for error we’re talking about, and it’s far from a guarantee, but at this point the burden of proof lies with the other contenders out West—save for Golden State. Denver has passed every test that’s been thrown their way.
Gross: Buying, but it’ll be tight. The readjustment period when 3/5 of the starting lineup returns will be a real thing. The West is so bunched up right now that any wavering can drop the Nuggets quickly, but I think they’ll maintain home court with a pack on their heels for most of the year. The Nuggets finally know who they are on both sides of the court - that alone will be hard to stop.
‘Tis the season, Stiffs. What would you name a December 15 holiday for Nuggets fans, and what traditions would you implement?
Mares: Merry Christmać, everyone! December 15th is a holiday for Nuggets fans as it is the day that we celebrate our own Saint Nik, who brings good tidings and good cheer. And plenty of assists. Like Festivus, on Christmać we air our grievances about poor officiating, compete in a feats of a lack of strength, and we keep our eyes peeled for a Christmać miracle!
Vogt: Happy Big Hon-ukkah, friends. Every December 15th, Nuggets fans light eight candles, one for each assist the big man is likely to throw on any given night, plus another for good luck. Call out of work, take a day off from school, this day is meant to be spent with friends and family. The festival of (high)lights is a time for celebration.
Gross: Yule. As in Yule-be-grateful that Jokic kept his name in the 2014 draft after briefly withdrawing from it, and grateful that Tim Connelly liked what he’d seen and decided to take a chance on a fat teenage center with a weird knack for passing and a soft touch. We have a Punch and Judy show (Jokic is played by a potato, Nurkic is an angry radish) where we cheer Nikola and boo Jusuf until the two hug it out like the friends they are to our applause. Then we throw away the radish, put a crown on the potato and select him to an All Star Game.