Credit Darvin Ham For Being Open To Using The Celtic Pride Approach When It Comes To Stopping Nikola Jokic
When you look at the Western Conference Finals, there are a lot of storylines/reasons to be excited for what should be an awesome series. I'm going to be breaking down both series tomorrow before the WCF gets underway where we'll look at all the basketball stuff that should be factored in when talking about both matchups, but as you should know by now, sometimes to win in the playoffs you have to think outside of the box.
For the Lakers, this means how the hell are they going to stop the best offense in the playoffs, most notably a player who has every case to be the best player on earth. Good luck stopping this guy
OK, I get it. The Suns frontcourt isn't exactly the same thing as trying to score on Anthony Davis. Especially this version of Davis and a Lakers defense as a whole that has been the best group on that end during these entire playoffs. Their defense has been the foundation of their success, without question.
But we've seen enough from Jokic to know that traditional defensive tactics aren't going to work. Oh you want to double him? You morons, Jokic is the best passer in the game. Oh you want to just play him straight up? OK, he's only insanely strong while also possessing the ability to make ridiculous off balance shots with ease. Basically, you don't stop Jokic. He gets what he wants.
That's why I appreciate Darvin Ham being open to anything. At this point of the playoffs with a spot in the Finals on the line, you have to be willing to try it all.
Now I love this for two reasons. One, even the Lakers head coach is admitting there's nothing you can do to stop Jokic. Probably how other coaches talk about his guy in LeBron. Whatever you think might work, it won't.
And of course, if you make any sort of reference to one of my favorite movies of all time, you leave me no choice but to love it.
How on earth did Rotten Tomatoes give this movie an 8% on their tomatometer? Do they have eyes? To be honest, even the 32% audience score is far too low. I get that I may or may not be biased when it comes to this topic, but Celtic Pride might be one of the best "worst" movies ever made. It's a classic in every way, both good and bad. I was 9 years old when it hit the theatres and it's easily my most watched movie ever. Maybe that and PCU. I know that's random, but I absolutely loved PCU growing up. It's another one of those so bad it's actually kind of good movies.
The challenge for the Lakers is this Nuggets team is not as one dimensional as the Warriors team they just faced. The Nuggets can beat you with 3PM, with post play, in transition, in the halfcourt, it doesn't really matter. With the Warriors, you really only had to worry about Steph Curry running off pin downs and the perimeter shooting. The Lakers don't exactly have big man depth, so that means someone like AD is going to have a ton of pressure to stay on the floor. Other than him, what do they do? Put Jarred Vanderbilt or Wenyen Gabriel or Tristan Thompson out there against Jokic? That's probably asking for trouble.
What makes Jokic and the Nuggets so good is their ability to play whatever style you want. They can go big, they can go small, they can play slow or fast. They have the high end talent and the depth to be considered every bit a contender as anyone else.
So while Darvin Ham may have been joking about kidnapping Jokic, maybe they shouldn't completely rule it out.