The Denver Nuggets may have been the biggest surprise of last season’s playoffs. They came back from two 3-1 deficit and beat a Los Angeles Clippers team that many people expected to win the championship. Though they weren’t able to slay the mighty Lakers, they did give them a good effort.
The Nuggets have a very young and very talented team. They should only get better. Nikola Jokic proved to be a problem for teams last season and he’s only 25. Despite the Lakers coming off of a title run and beating the Nuggets in five games during the playoffs, Jokic isn’t worried about them.
“To be honest, I don’t care about the Lakers,” Jokic said Thursday. “They will be good, obviously.”
Perhaps Jokic should start caring about the Lakers because they run the Western Conference right now and they could be even better this year. It’s good for players to not worry about what other teams are doing but beating the Lakers is the only way to win the West.
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Jokic Doesn’t Believe Nuggets Are Getting Enough Respect
The Nuggets defied a lot of expectations last season but they still aren’t getting a ton of respect. CBS Sports ranked them as the 19th best team in the league. Losing Jerami Grant is a blow but the duo of Jamal Murray and Jokic is very good and should be enough to make Denver at least a top-15 team. Jokic knows that his team isn’t getting the respect it deserves.
“Even now they are talking about how the Clippers lost, not how we won,” Jokic said.
“Just because someone doesn’t give us respect doesn’t mean we listen to their opinions. We know how good we are.”
The Nuggets seemed to catch lightning in a bottle last season. Time will tell if that was them hitting the next level or just an anomaly. They’ll get plenty of chances to prove that they are one of the three best teams in the West.
Who Are the Biggest Threats to Lakers in West?
The Lakers made pretty quick work of the Western Conference last season. They only lost three of 15 games en route to their Finals appearance. This year, it’s hard to tell who might give them trouble. The Clippers didn’t really do much outside of signing Serge Ibaka and they still have a glaring need at point guard. They might be better than people are giving them credit for but they shouldn’t give the Lakers too much trouble.
The Golden State Warriors were poised for a bounce-back year before Klay Thompson was lost for the season. They should still compete for a playoff spot but they’re not a team that should worry the Lakers. The Phoenix Suns are the only team that should see a big improvement with their acquisition of Chris Paul. However, they are nowhere near the Lakers’ level yet. A lot can change once the season is in full swing but right now, it doesn’t look like there’s a serious threat to the Lakers in the Western Conference.