DENVER — Add Sports Illustrated NBA writer Chris Mannix to the list of national media members who can't seem to appreciate the NBA Finals-bound Denver Nuggets.
"The card the Nuggets can play is nobody talks about us, nobody spends airtime discussing us, column inches writing about us because frankly, the Nuggets aren't very interesting," Mannix said during an appearance on the Rich Eisen Show on Thursday.
He said that two-time MVP Nikola Jokic doesn't do enough to garner attention from the wider media.
"He's arguably the best player in the game right now, but he's not someone who does a lot of interviews outside of the NBA-mandated stuff," he said. "You're not going to see a lot of profiles on Nikola Jokic."
He also said that the Nuggets' other top players don't move the needle much.
"Jamal Murray, great player, not especially interesting," he said. "Michael Porter Jr., great player, not especially interesting. At least not compared to what we have at the bottom of the playoff bracket where you've got drama in Los Angeles almost weekly. The Suns, can they compete in this first year with Keven Durant? The Warriors, all their dysfunction this year. The Clippers, can they get it together?"
"The Nuggets' problem isn't they're not respected, they're just not talked about," he continued. "People just don't find them as interesting as some of the teams on the bottom half of the playoff bracket. They're just not a compelling team to talk about, to write about, compared to some of the other teams I mentioned."
Mannix later said he was specifically responding to Nuggets head coach Mike Malone saying the Nuggets deserve respect.
When Mannix tweeted about Miami Heat guard Gabe Vincent being out for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals, Nuggets fans bombarded the comments section:
The Nuggets are no strangers to getting a cold shoulder from the national media. Charles Barkley recently complained about ESPN's coverage of the Nuggets and criticized an MVP voter, ESPN analyst Mark Jackson, who left Jokic off his five-man ballot.
In addition, an ESPN sideline reporter Lisa Salters caught flak for admitting she hadn't seen Jokic play before the Western Conference Finals.
Another ESPN analyst, Kendrick Perkins, recently did an about-face on Jokic after accusing him of padding his stats to reach a triple-double. Perkins' comments led to a national sports conversation about stat padding.
Perkins also alleged in March that NBA MVP voters have a racial bias against Black players, leading to another national conversation involving Jokic.
Game 1 of the NBA Finals is scheduled to tip off at 6:30 p.m. June 1.
The Nuggets will play the winner of the Eastern Conference Finals. The Miami Heat lead the Boston Celtics 3-1. Game 5 is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. Friday.
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