Joel Embiid (L) against Nikola Jokić in March 2022. Mar 14, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) and Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) during the first quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a little over 12 hours since Denver reached the summit, with the Nuggets winning the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history in a gentleman’s sweep over the Miami Heat. Even amid a fourth-quarter flurry from Jimmy Butler, Monday night’s final outcome was never in doubt, with the Nuggets universally recognized as the better, more complete team, an offensive juggernaut led by the best player on Earth, Nikola Jokić.

There’s been plenty of talk about legacy in the aftermath of Denver’s triumph, with Jokić climbing up the all-time rankings as one of the greatest big men to ever step on an NBA hardwood. And while the majority of fans were happy to see the perennially-underappreciated Jokić finally get his flowers, Philadelphia radio host Eliot Shorr-Parks of 94 WIP was quick to rain on his parade (speaking of). Shorr-Parks dismissed the Nuggets’ title as “meaningless” while scoffing at the notion Jokić is in any way better than 2022-23 NBA MVP Joel Embiid (seen at left above against Jokić in March 2022).

The argument that Denver had an “easy” path to the NBA title is both misleading and completely out of their control. While it’s true the Nuggets, throughout their playoff run, were able to mostly avoid higher seeds (two eights, a seven and a four), the Phoenix Suns, led by All-Stars Kevin Durant and Devin Booker, weren’t exactly lightweights. Neither were the Los Angeles Lakers, with future Hall-of-Famers LeBron James and Anthony Davis both posing major threats to Denver’s championship aspirations.

Shorr-Parks, in framing the Nuggets as beneficiaries of a weak bracket, also conveniently forgets how hard Denver worked to gain homecourt advantage, fighting and clawing for 82 games to finish atop the Western Conference regular-season standings. It’s not as if the Nuggets were surviving on smoke and mirrors, either. This team was a behemoth, not just winning but winning EMPHATICALLY, finishing with an overwhelming 16-4 postseason record.

Embiid, when all is said and done, will occupy a similar space in history as one of the most dominant scorers of all-time and a worthy MVP. Still, the assertion that Embiid—who has never won a second-round series, much less a championship—has a stronger resume than Jokic is comical, an unserious take soaked in Philly bias. Shorr-Parks, of course, is entitled to his opinion, though going to air with it so soon after Jokic’s coronation reeks of jealousy, still bitter that Philadelphia’s “Process” hasn’t panned out.

[94 WIP; photo from Bill Streicher/USA Today Sports]

About Jesse Pantuosco

Jesse Pantuosco joined Awful Announcing as a contributing writer in May 2023. He’s also written for Audacy and NBC Sports. A graduate of Syracuse’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications with a master’s degree in creative writing from Fairfield University, Pantuosco has won three Fantasy Sports Writers Association Awards. He lives in West Hartford, Connecticut and never misses a Red Sox, Celtics or Patriots game.