Denver Nuggets: Did Nikola Jokic quit on the team in Game 4 vs. Phoenix?

NBA Denver Nuggets Nikola Jokic (Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports)
NBA Denver Nuggets Nikola Jokic (Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports) /

Did Nikola Jokic quit on the Denver Nuggets in Game 4 against the Phoenix Suns? 

Recently, Denver Nuggets star center Nikola Jokic was awarded the title of Most Valuable Player for the NBA regular-season stretch. Looking at both his numbers and the overall success that the organization has had as of late, he has certainly donned the accolades necessary to back it up.

But to be the most valuable individual on your team (and even more so in the entire league), one has to illustrate good maturity and, subsequently, leadership. That is something that Jokic may have failed to do in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Pheonix Suns.

Phoenix held a 3-0 series lead over Denver with no signs of slowing down, and Game 4 featured a competitive affair.

Things got exceptionally heated and, in one instance, Jokic batted at the ball while it was in Suns guard Cameron Payne’s possession. Whether on purpose or by accident, Jokic’s arm struck Payne across the nose, sending him to the floor. What ensued was an aggressive encounter between Jokic and Phoenix star Devin Booker that resulted in the eventual ejection of Jokic.

Now, a hefty amount of fuel was certainly thrown onto the fire of the situation once Booker barreled towards Jokic with his mouth running. But Jokic was already in serious trouble due to the foul itself; why worsen the matter even further for the sake of popping back at someone half your size?

Considering that the Nuggets were vastly in over their heads already with no indication of a comeback being plausible, it is likely that Jokic figured that, in that exact moment, he had nothing else to lose.

Nikola Jokic made the wrong decision at quite possibly the worst moment

Though, I’m not sure that’s exactly what you want to see from your MVP in that exact moment – ahead of the most important moment in your team’s season. You can make the argument that a good leader looks past the petty nonsense that comes their way (literally) and tries to lead their team past hardship to the best of his abilities.

But it appears as if the last hope for the Nuggets chose to just stop caring instead.

For the average, everyday person, feeling defeated in that atmosphere may be nothing to be ashamed of; but Jokic can’t be that person at that moment. With his team’s back against the wall, he didn’t even give his team a fair fight in the final quarter.

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With the Nuggets officially out of the playoffs, Jokic will have plenty of time to fight back from this low point, and hopefully, he will do so strongly. But for now, it appears as if the Joker ended his season as more like a joke.