Isaiah Thomas Believes A Nikola Jokic Title With Denver Nuggets Will Change NBA Back To Big Men Being Centerpiece Of The Team

The Denver Nuggets punched their first trip to the NBA Finals in franchise history with a 4-0 sweep of the LeBron James-led Los Angeles Lakers.

Denver did so in it’s 47th year as a member of the NBA, and after winning 44 playoff series as a franchise over that timeframe they secured their first sweep in a series.

Led by head coach Mike Malone and his star tandem of Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray, plus a great supporting cast the Nuggets, are the early prohibitive favorites to win the NBA title no matter who they face from the Eastern Conference.

Denver’s success starts and ends with Joker, a two-time league MVP and Western Conference Finals MVP who has altered the game as far as the way centers play.

That style of play has been very hard for opposing coaches to game plan for, and even more difficult for players to defend in-game.

Not many players in the history of the game have been able to do what Jokic can do, let alone 7-footers. His unorthodox grasp of the five positions and unpredictable execution makes him a terror to guard.

Former NBA All-Star Says Nuggets Title Would Change Game Again

Following the Nuggets’ Game 3 win in Los Angeles, former NBA All-Star Isaiah Thomas took to Twitter to say things “will change” if Jokic leads the city of Denver to it’s first NBA championship. 

“If Denver wins the Finals the game will change again,” the former Nuggets guard said. “Gotta get you a big man to have a chance. Copy cat league.”

Thomas thinks teams will need an inside presence to slow down Jokic, but that’s easier said than done. Not many centers can grab a rebound, lead the break and make the right decision for his teammates. When you think about it, not many point guards do it better than “the Joker,” but he’s also capable of beating you up in the post, scoring at will, and he’s also one of the best offensive rebounders in the NBA. 

His size and skill have made it difficult for teams to slow the Nuggets offense all season.

While there are other big men around the NBA who are great, like reigning MVP Joel Embiid, Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo, and others, no one does what Jokic does from a scoring, assisting and offensive efficiency standpoint. It’s a thing of beauty, even if he can’t jump two inches off the floor. 

Thomas makes valid points, but that doesn’t necessarily mean other teams won’t be able to win championships. He’s merely stating that if you face the Nuggets you’d have a much better shot with a solid big man to at least bother Jokic some. Disrupt his rhythm.

Despite Being No.1 Seed, Nuggets Flew Under The Radar

Somehow, the Nuggets were overlooked coming into the playoffs despite being the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference since December.

That doesn’t seem to bother them as they often used it as motivation. 

Following their Game 2 win over the Lakers, Jokic told reporters this in his postgame presser:

“It’s nothing new for us. To get honest, I like it. We don’t care. Whatever. Even in the bubble, when we beat Utah, they blew the lead. When we beat the Clippers, it was they blew the lead. Nobody talked about how we won those games. It’s normal for us. I don’t pay attention to all that.”

Jokic may not pay much attention to it, but he let his play dictate how he felt about it by averaging 29.9 points, 13.3 rebounds and 10.3 assists per game through 15 playoff games. That run made him the first player in NBA history to average a triple-double through that many games.

His partner in crime, the aforementioned Murray, became the first player in league history to shoot 50-40-90 in a best-of-seven series sweep, with shooting splits of 52.7/40.5/95.0, which is superb efficiency in the NBA. 

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