It is not Nikola Jokic’s fault that the Nuggets are down 2-1 in this series. Maybe it was kinda his fault in game one that the Nuggets lost, but remember, he got a triple-double, and as Russell Westbrook has found out, triple-doubles shield you permanently from major criticism. I will say that Jokic could be looking to score a bit more, but that’s what I (and a lot of other, smarter people) have been saying for the whole year, so it’s unlikely that he’ll find some secondary source of bucket-getting mojo. Though, if there’s any time for that to happen, being down in a playoff series would be one of those times.
After considerable examination of the evidence, the main reason I can see for the Nuggets possibly getting upset is that they are letting Derrick White kick their butt real bad. Jokic doesn’t have much to do with that, other than that he’s not a rim protector and offers no resistance once White is done carving up whatever Denver player is “guarding” him. Another factor is that Will Barton is playing bad, some will claim due to injury, but the reason doesn’t matter. Again, Jokic is not really at fault there either, unless you think that his passing ability should be leading to free open layups for Barton every other possession.
There’s still a lot of series left. No one should be panicking. But an early playoff exit does raise some concerning questions about the construction of this Denver team. Questions like “Did Paul Millsap ruin this core forever?” and “Why is Monte Morris the only PG on the roster?” and “Do Jokic’s handoffs really produce enough value for them to be the focal point of the offense?”.