The Nuggets had a bit of a weird week this week including a tough loss to the Utah Jazz, and a suspension that leaves me scratching my head, but my hope is that we can just chalk it up to the effects of the Super Blood Wolf Moon and move on. Seriously, who comes up with these moon phase names?
Although they now sit two games back from the Warriors who hold the first place slot in the Western Conference, the Nuggets have plenty of room to make up for lost time and keep the momentum alive heading into All-Star break.
Let’s look back at this week’s weirdest moments.
Mason Plumlee gets in a fight with Derrick Favors resulting in a suspension for Nikola Jokic
Perhaps that headline is slightly misleading (come on, all the media outlets are doing it), but the ridiculousness of the situation demands a ridiculous headline. In the Nuggets’ match-up against the Utah Jazz, Plumlee and Favors got into a scuffle on court after some questionable physicality from Favors under the rim had Plumlee fired up.
Seeing his teammate in distress, Jokic rose up off the bench and took a couple of steps toward the arguing players violating the league’s rule about players leaving the bench during an altercation. Murray and Harris followed suit, but Jokic was a couple of steps closer to the group than the others who left the bench.
At no time was Jokic on the court during the argument, and he was still far enough away from the situation to be considered separated from the incident. However, the league determined that Jokic’s proximity further escalated the situation.
Plumlee was fined $25,000, while Favors will be set back $15,000, but neither of those players were suspended for their technical fouls and subsequent ejections.
The rule is clear, and it was also clearly broken, but I think the league responded too harshly. Had Jokic actually involved himself in the fight I could see the reason for the suspension, but I have to roll my eyes in this case. A stern warning and possibly a fine would have gone a long way toward preventing the situation from happening in the future.
All I’m saying is that if it had been James Harden, I don’t think he would have seen a suspension.
Jokic is snubbed by the All-Stars
It appears that our beloved Jokic won’t be making an appearance on the starting lineup for the Western Conference All-Star team this year, with fans and other vote holders choosing players like LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Peal George instead.
I’m not at all surprised that these superstar names were picked over Jokic’s budding stardom, but I’m disappointed in the popularity contest nonetheless. Jokic has led the Nuggets to one of the best starts in NBA franchise history, and the way he’s elevated this team in the time since he’s found his rhythm is truly remarkable.
And, what’s even more remarkable about what Jokic has done is the fact that he probably doesn’t really give a darn if he gets to play in the All-Star game or not.
Ever humble and eager to promote others over himself, Jokic is comfortable out of the spotlight (which probably causes us to be interested in him even more), and regardless if he gets the All-Star recognition, he’s going to continue to play like one.
Now, I’m sure if he were chosen, he would be excited to play to make his fans happy and represent for his teammates, but I’m certain his focus is intent on finishing the season strong and securing a playoff position with home court advantage.
The Nuggets are the anti-hero, and it’s awesome
While the Nuggets are certainly heroes in our eyes, the rest of the league doesn’t seem to agree. They can’t catch a break with the officials in the league, and when they’re playing a team like the Golden State Warriors or Los Angeles Lakers, the game announcers (apart from Chris Marlowe and Scott Hastings of Altitude Sports of course) won’t give them the time of day.
If Jokic is able to hold off James under the rim, people will say wow look at how well James works his defender, and if Murray goes for 35 points, they will highlight some other important statistic from whatever team is more popular.
Look, we get it. The Nuggets haven’t been very popular in the past, and perhaps that’s because they didn’t deserve it. But, now they’ve arrived and popular or not they’re taking the league by storm.
And, that’s exactly what I love about this Nuggets team. They are building their own superstars—in the face of all those who have looked over their talent.
At a time where professional sports is struggling in Colorado (yeah I’m talking to you Broncos) the Nuggets are giving the Colorado sports fan base something to be very excited about.