Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets could intentionally lose tomorrow to tank the Los Angeles Lakers’ hunt to escape the play-in games.
The Denver Nuggets have been one of the most surprising teams this season in the West. The team came out of the blocks a bit iffy this season but picked up the pace as the year went on.
Now, despite a long-term injury to Jamal Murray, the franchise sits 3rd in the Conference, largely due to the MVP caliber performances from Nikola Jokic.
With the team going from strength to strength, they would likely be feeling incredibly confident about their next few games. However, perhaps it would be far more beneficial for the team to lose their next game on purpose.
Let’s get into it.
The Nuggets losing to the Blazers would ensure a first-round matchup against the Lakers is avoided
It is no secret that LA Lakers are now going full throttle, doing whatever they can to avoid the play-in tournament. However, it seems that the franchise’s fate may not completely be in their hands anymore.
If the Lakers win their next game, and the Nuggets manage to defeat the Blazers, it would mean the reigning champions would climb up to 6th. Not only would this allow the Lake Show to avoid the play-in games, but it would also mean they would face off against the Nuggets in the first round.
Given how much momentum the LeBron-led team has at the moment, the Nuggets likely don’t want that. But there is a solution, even if it is a bit sneaky.
Nikola Jokic’s triple double (20 PTS, 11 AST, 15 REB) leads Nuggets over the Pistons. 🃏 pic.twitter.com/wJAwjIiNzN
— NBA UK (@NBAUK) May 15, 2021
The Jokic-led franchise could aim to lose against the 6th seeded Portland Trail Blazers. This would mean that the Lakers would be unable to avoid the play-in tournament. And in turn, due to having to finish either 7th or 8th, will not face the Nuggets in the first round.
It may not be the fairest thing in the world, but neither is the NBA. So, with this context in mind, it will be very interesting to see what Denver chooses to do in its next game.