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).
"Jokic got handed easiest path to a title we might ever see again in the NBA…I don't think this means, 'The Nuggets are way better, they're winners and the Sixers are losers and Jokic is way better than Embiid.' I think that's an overreaction."
— SPORTSRADIO 94WIP (@SportsRadioWIP) June 13, 2023
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.
I hope Denver wins tonight so we can get these boring Finals over with, give them their meaningless ring and get back to the NBA being interesting again (trades/rumors/etc)
— Eliot Shorr-Parks (@EliotShorrParks) June 12, 2023
Happy the series is over. Nuggets ring is the worst in a long time. Lakers Bubble Ring is better.
Hopefully tomorrow we get all the interesting rumors that were being held and we can all enjoy the NBA again
— Eliot Shorr-Parks (@EliotShorrParks) June 13, 2023
Joel Embiid is better than Nikola Jokic
— Eliot Shorr-Parks (@EliotShorrParks) June 8, 2023
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]