I’m going to start off this piece by letting you all know I’ve been a die hard Nuggets fan for as long as I can remember. I was that kid in High School you’d talk to if you wanted to know things about the Nuggets. In college, I’m known for being the kid around campus who wears so much Nuggets stuff. I wore all my Nuggets jerseys during the final game of last season and Altitude put me on TV for it. Yeah, I love the Denver Nuggets.
With that love comes passion. I’m very passionate right now because of the lack of respect nationally that this team has gotten. The Denver Nuggets are the 1 seed in the Western Conference, sitting with a 25-11 record (3rd best in the league). This team hasn’t been healthy all season, with Will Barton getting hurt in the second game of the season, and Gary Harris and Paul Millsap missing most of December with injuries. It must also be noted that the team has been without point guard Isaiah Thomas, whom they signed this past off-season, as well as rookies Michael Porter Jr. and Jarred Vanderbilt. Even with all these injuries, this Denver team sits at the top of the Western Conference.
Tonight on TNT’s post-game show, Shaquille O’Neal criticized Denver for not being “deep enough”.
I found this utterly hilarious and the more I thought about it, the angrier I got. National “experts” not knowing what they’re talking about on TV has become a huge issue in sports. Recently Stephan A. Smith went on a tirade about players that weren’t even playing on the teams he was referring to. So many places (and people) talk as if they watch every game when in actuality they maybe have seen one game and declare all their knowledge based off of just that, one game.
The problem is that these national outlets (ESPN, Fox Sports, TNT) is where a lot of casual fans get their NBA information. So, when Shaquille O’Neal tells the world that the Nuggets aren’t deep, those exact words are going to be repeated by people who watch this programming and take it as gospel.
I also want to point out this isn’t just because someone talked ill of my favorite team. That will happen in sports. What the issue is is when someone states something that just isn’t true. The Nuggets have the best backup point guard in the NBA right now and no one is talking about it. It’s absolutely ridiculous, and the public deserves media members to be knowledgeable about the things they claim to be knowledgeable in. If our politicians talked about foreign policy and were making claims that weren’t true, we’d call them out on it. So, we need to do the same in sports.
We need NBA experts to start doing their jobs better. Watch more film. If your job is to sit there on an ESPN NBA show every day and talk about basketball, try to watch more than just the Lakers and the Celtics. Maybe watch the Pacers one night because they’re damn good and no one is talking about them. Maybe watch the Nets, who have stayed afloat without having their best player healthy. Maybe, just maybe, watch a Denver Nuggets game. The team is healthy now, the best team in the West (at the moment) and absolute must-watch TV. One night you might watch Jamal Murray go for 36 points. One night you might see Nikola Jokic record a triple-double before halftime. Another night you might see a Malik Beasley monster dunk.
The point is that this team is box-office gold. They’ve been great when they’re on national TV, and have been dynamite all season. So, so-called “experts” you might want to actually watch this team before you talk about them to millions of people. Not only because the world deserves better from you, but because you might actually learn something about this “not deep” team: that they’re damn good and here to stay.
header credit: USA Today