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Michael Malone Rightfully Called Out The NBA Schedule Makers For Robbing Us Of A Jokic Vs Giannis Battle

Bart Young. Getty Images.

As basketball fans, we were robbed last night. With two of the best teams in the league facing off for the first of their only two meetings of the year, a game between the Nuggets and Bucks should be a big deal to the league. Last time I checked, the last 4 MVPs have been awarded to the best player on each of these teams. Both are contenders this year, both are in the top 3 of their respective conferences, and you would think that a league that cares about marketing their stars or having a "new face of the NBA" for the post-LeBron world would do everything in their power to bring this matchup to the masses.

Naturally, the NBA did the exact opposite. For some unknown reason the NBA's schedule makers decided to make DEN play this game on the second night of a back to back, which as you can imagine resulted in this

Such is life in the NBA in 2023, and it's hard to fault any franchise with title aspirations for being cautious and making sure they do everything they possibly can to help ensure the roster is healthy for when it matters most. For a team like the Nuggets who have had to go through a few postseason runs these last few years while missing their best guys outside of Jokic, I can't blame Malone for doing something like this. It's not his fault the NBA is braindead when it comes to scheduling. 

We saw the other night what happened in MIA with Jimmy Butler, and this news came out about 90 minutes before tip, so anyone in MIL that was maybe hoping to see Jokic for the only time this season was shit out of luck. The Bucks pulled out the win which is all fine and nice, but that's not really the point. We as fans want to see the best play the best, and things like this should be avoidable. We know the league has the ability to decide what games do and don't matter, and Nuggets coach Michael Malone had a GREAT take on this postgame. Let's have a listen

He could not be more right in this situation. Everyone knows Jokic vs Embiid is a huge deal. You know it, I know it, the players know it, fans know it, and the league knows it. That's why when you look at the PHI schedule they played on Saturday, got 2 days off before their game last night, and now have 2 days off before the matchup on Saturday with DEN. The Nuggets now also have 2 days off themselves before that game. The league wants those stars rested and active in what is a huge Saturday marquee game.

Well, Jokic vs Giannis is just as big a deal. These are two ACTUAL MVPs going head to head, and the league turns a blind eye. On what planet does this help their product? You're telling me there was no way to have this DEN/MIL game tonight on TNT? Instead for the early game, we're getting BOS/NYK. Just a total swing and a miss for a league that supposedly cares about its product.

It's one thing if these teams were in the same divisionof conference and there were going to be a handful of opportunities to see these rosters go up against each other, but that's obviously not the case here. You get one shot in each city and then pray they both make the Finals if you want more of that matchup. There's no excuse for the league to do everything they can to make Jokic/Embiid happen but not Jokic/Giannis, when both teams clearly have a break in their schedule. 

Of course, this will not be the only time this happens this season. It's an issue that has made buying tickets to these huge games a gigantic risk. I would just ask Adam Silver if he wants me as a fan to care about the league and the regular season, why would the league make a conscious decision to increase the chances a team rests their star players in a big matchup? 

I'm sure there are formulas and algorithms and all this other smart shit that helps determine the schedule, but I would argue that any sort of equation that results in giving us MIL/DEN on the 2nd night of a B2B should not be trusted or used. That feels like more of a common sense thing to me.