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The Disrespect Of The Defending NBA Champion Denver Nuggets Is Already Underway

Justin Edmonds. Getty Images.

Big day in the NBA today as the league officially released their schedules. Few things are more fun than working your way down the schedule of your favorite team and trying to figure out how it might be possible that they don't finish 82-0. It's all a sign that we're one step closer to training camp which means we're one step closer to preseason which means we're one step closer to the real thing. October 24th can't come soon enough.

One thing I'm always interested in seeing is the National TV game allotment for everyone. Who is the league trying to market? Who has earned a bump in visibility? While I can't imagine there being people who don't watch every single night on League Pass, the National TV games are always a big deal. 

Here's the list

Now I'm not going to nitpick the inclusion of NBATV in the numbers even though technically that's not included in basic cable, but if you want to throw them in there because that means the game will be blacked out on the local feed of League Pass if you're out of market (the dumbest thing of all time), then fine. 

What stood out?

First, shoutout Kings fans. They come in at 22 total games which just goes to show the Power Of The Beam. How much of a jump is that from last season? They had 5 total in 2022-23. Just goes to show what finally breaking through and making the playoffs can do for a franchise. The Thunder also had a nice jump from 4 to 13, and I like how the league is being cautious with Wemby, with the Spurs going from 4 to 11. The Knicks also had a jump that was well warranted, going from 16 to 25 as did their playoff opponent CLE, who went from 9 to 17.

On the flip side, a team like the Clippers took a hit from 32 to 22, which makes sense because who the hell knows when their stars are actually going to be on the floor. I'd be pissed if I kept giving them National TV games only for Kawhi/PG13 to never play. The Sixers are also down slightly from 34 to 29, and that might be a brutal watch depending on what happens with Harden. It's no surprise that someone like BKN dropped heavily, which brings me to the thing I found most surprising with this year's total.

The Denver Nuggets won the NBA title correct? I thought they did.

The Denver Nuggets currently have the best player on the planet right? I feel like they do.

And yet when you look at their National TV total, you'd never know it. Just compare it to the 3 other teams that made the 2nd round in the Western Conference

GS - 41 

LAL - 40 

PHX - 37 

DEN - 30

Didn't we just spend an entire season of people shitting on Jokic during an MVP race by basically admitting they never really watch him play? I'm pretty sure talking heads on ESPN basically apologized for not talking enough about Jokic and the Nuggets during the year after he made all of them look like idiots with his postseason run. I get it, this stuff is about ratings and blah blah blah, but isn't that the whole point? Shouldn't you be marketing and promoting the defending NBA champion as much as possible? Are we still doing the whole 

"Nikola Jokic is boring to watch" thing? In 2023? Am I taking crazy pills or something?

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Not to mention the fact that Jamal Murray is poised for another leap. I just find it crazy that not only are they the team that has the fewest National TV games of that group, but it's not even close! 

If I'm the Nuggets or their fans, I love this. It's actually exactly what I might prefer heading into a title defense season. Now the team can still play the "nobody respects us" card despite ya know, being the ones with the trophy. You don't think Michael Malone is going to play that card in the locker room? Especially with the Lakers having 10 more games even after how that playoff series went? He'd be an idiot not too. 

I'm actually fascinated to see how different the narrative is around Jokic for this upcoming season. All that shit last year about how he wasn't able to win 3 MVPs in a row and voter fatigue etc was all such bullshit. Well, now what? Now he has the ring, so does this mean he can win as many MVPs in a row now? Is he somehow a different player in 2023-24 that he wasn't in 2022-23 despite doing the same exact shit? I think that's part of what made his run to a title so fun. It made ALL of those outrageous takes during the MVP race age like milk. 

So while I'm sure publicly the Nuggets will say all the right things about how they don't care about National TV games and it's only about winning and defending their title, I'm not buying it. I'll say it for them, it's bullshit. The team leaned into the disrespect angle during their title run and that's not going to change now. Even winning the whole thing still didn't change how networks and the league view them. 

May as well use that as fuel and go back to back.