Denver Nuggets
When are we going to take the Denver Nuggets seriously? (Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY Sports)

I know you’re probably rolling your eyes. Yes, the Warriors are still the overwhelming favorite to win it all and I’m not here to debate that. However, we all need to start looking at Nuggets as a legitimate threat for years to come as they’ve quietly taken the number two spot in the Western Conference only 3 games behind Golden State. Led by their unassuming MVP candidate Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets have improved dramatically after a disappointing end to their playoff push last year.

You’re probably wondering what changed. Why should this year be any different for a team that’s basically returning the same roster that landed them in 9th place and an extended stay on the couch for the NBA playoffs? Major sports networks like ESPN and FOX never give small market teams or players the credit or coverage they deserve. While everyone is busy praising James Harden for shooting 30 free throws a game, Nikola Jokic is slowly becoming one of the best centers in the league. Jokic is averaging 20 PPG and 10 rebounds this season, a huge uptick from his 15 and 9 career averages.

What ultimately sets Jokic apart from other greats at his position is his 6th sense court vision. In today’s NBA where threes are king, it’s refreshing to see an offense run through a supremely skilled 7 footer with a knack for bully ball. His ability to run the break and find teammates in the open court has helped the likes of Jamal Murray, Gary Harris, and Paul Milsap get easy looks around the rim. if Jokic continues to elevate his teammates level of play, we could see Denver going up against the Golden State in the Western Conference Finals.