Reigning MVP Nikola Jokic Expects Denver Nuggets to Contend for the Title Despite Missing Jamal Murray

Published 09/24/2021, 2:00 PM EDT
Jan 5, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) dribbles up court against the Minnesota Timberwolves in the first quarter at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports


26-year-old Serbian international Nikola Jokic became the first player in Denver Nuggets’ history to win the NBA MVP. He also became the first center since Shaquille O’Neal to win the award.

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However, despite his enormous effort last season, the Nuggets were clean swept by Phoenix Suns in the Conference semifinals. But Jokic played a pivotal role in helping the Nuggets finish third in the Western Conference.

Denver Nuggets have added just three players to their roster in the off-season. Their team is pretty much the same as they had last season. With Jokic winning the MVP award, the expectations have risen and the Nuggets are touted as championship contenders for the coming season.

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DENVER, CO – OCTOBER 29: Nikola Jokic (15) of the Denver Nuggets becomes frustrated while speaking to Jamal Murray (27) during the second half of the Nuggets’ 116-111 win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday, October 29, 2018. The Denver Nuggets hosted the New Orleans Pelicans at the Pepsi Center. (Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

However, the Nuggets will miss an important player in the coming season – Jamal Murray. The 24-year-old Canadian guard successfully underwent surgery on his torn ACL earlier this year. The Nuggets have ruled him out indefinitely. But despite missing Murray, Jokic feels the Nuggets can fight for the championship.

Nikola Jokic expects the Nuggets to fight for the championship even without Jamal Murray

Nikola Jokic recently appeared before the media to address some of their questions. He has acknowledged that a long season awaits the Nuggets. When asked if the Nuggets should be counted as the championship contenders, he said: “Yes, of course”. “If everybody buys in and everybody plays the right way, there is a chance, of course.”

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“The goal for the season…? Of course, everybody is saying a championship, that’s what we’ve been saying for the (last) seven years. So I’m not going to say championship… Of course, we want to (win) the championship, but there are a lot of boxes you have to check to make that (a reality).”

“Of course, we’re gonna miss Jamal. He’s a big part of this team. But everybody is getting back, we’re gonna have pretty much the same team, the same core… If everybody does their job, the house is gonna be calm. I’m just trying to be ready for the next season, that’s my job.”

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The Nuggets have a long season waiting ahead of them. They’re touted as one of the favorites for the championship, but they have to face the likes of the LA Lakers and Brooklyn Nets in the west. But with Jokic and a team ready to fight, the Nuggets can carve out the path for their first-ever NBA championship.

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Jokic will be extra motivated for the coming season and the Nuggets will expect the roster to be healthy. With the right blend of players alongside a peak Jokic, Denver Nuggets expects to end their championship wait. Jamal’s return isn’t known yet, but if he manages to return before the post-season, it could be a massive boost for the Nuggets in their title hopes.

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Abhishek Singh

204 articles

Abhishek is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports with over two years of journalistic experience with Chase Your Sport and Dribl. A Football Management graduate, he has previously interned in the Indian Super League, I-League and the AFC Champions League. In addition to being a Michael Jordan fan, Abhishek is an ardent Steph Curry and Warriors guy, and believes they have a few more championships in store before the former retires.

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