Your Denver Nuggets are the 2nd seed in the West, four games back of the Lakers for the one seed with 27 games left. Here’s how it’s all going to shake out by the time the playoffs tip off on Saturday, April 18. These five predictions are based on extensive research I did on “the Internet” and a code I deciphered from a Pokemon comic book series that Jokic may have read at some point in his life.
If you don’t want the rest of the season spoiled for you, stop reading now.
Jokic loses another 25 pounds
Nikola admitted that he’s dropped 25 pounds since the beginning of the season, crediting that more than anything for his improved performance since the turn of the year. By April 17th, he loses an additional 25 pounds and mysteriously grows an inch. He makes the cover of Sports Illustrated, flexing and growling with a Serbian flag draped over shoulders.
While his production drops off dramatically over the final two months, Jokic is catapulted into the MVP conversation thanks to the new definition of his biceps. “You know,” says Charles Barkley while sipping a chocolate peanut butter Jamba Juice, “I prefer this new athletic Joker. It’s what everyone’s wanted to see since we started watching him play a few weeks ago. (Slurp). He finally looks like an MVP.”
Giannis gets the MVP, of course, but Jokic finishes a very respectable third, and the NBA also recognizes his “invaluable contribution to the aesthetics of the game” in a league memo.
Jamal Murray has a 61-point game
... against the Chicago Bulls on March 23. He hits eight threes and goes to the line 19 times in a game that Jokic and Barton both sit out of with minor injuries. The standout performance marks the first time in Nuggets’ franchise history that a player from Canada scores over 60 points. It’s also the first time a Nugget has taken 50 shots in a game.
Jamal’s dad actually runs out of the stands to give his son a hug with 30 seconds still on the clock, and the two have a touching moment at center court. The Nuggets get a technical foul for the Murray embrace, but it doesn’t matter because they’re losing by 38 anyway.
Barton has some beef with Drake
During the Toronto game on March 22, Will Barton III arranges a meeting with Drake that takes place courtside during the second quarter. The Nuggets’ benched small forward is evidently planting the seeds for a new career since being replaced in the starting lineup by Michael Porter Jr. Lip readers determine after the scrum that Drake says something along the lines of “Don’t quit your job” while handing the headphones back, at which point Thrill says something bad about maple leaves or maple syrup, and the dust-up is on. Several mounties gallop onto the court and ask politely for the two rappers to stop staring menacingly at each other before play resumes.
To make amends a few months later, Drake uses a 0.7-second clip of Barton screaming during a game in the baseline of a song that gets scrapped just before the album is released. Will is able to turn that bump into a record deal in Korea.
The Nuggets get the first seed
It’s true. The Lakers lose 7 out of 9 when LeBron and AD both go down in the same game in March. Dwight Howard averages 24/16 during that stretch, though, which creates some controversy about whether he should replace JaVale McGee in the starting lineup — a story that dominates NBA coverage all the way until the playoffs.
The Clippers actually get the second seed just ahead of the Lakers and the surprising Oklahoma City Thunder who win 17 in a row at one point. Houston finishes 7th, five games worse than their rivals to the north, but Rockets’ fans still justify the trade for Westbrook, because “Chris Paul got hurt that one time in the playoffs.” The Clippers sweep them in the first round, winning by an average of 18 points.
Gary Harris goes 7/7 from 3 in a random game
I’ve gone too far, haven’t I?
There is a lot more I could tell you about, too: LeBron’s weird new spray-on hair; Luka’s 50/40/30/20 game that gets pushed into the second segment on SportsCenter because Tom Brady releases a statement saying he’s “uncertain about his future”; and, of course, the unfortunate “Phallus in the Palace” debacle.
But I want you all to experience it for yourselves. It’s going to be a wild ride.