Okay, so the headline might be a little misleading. I’m not going to dissect anything, especially one ounce at a time. Let’s call it an “examination” of a story that’s taken flight around the NBA.
But proclaiming that a ballplayer’s game will be significantly better (or worse) simply based on his weight might be misleading, too.
Here’s a fact: Whether you star in Hollywood or the NBA, or whether you work at King Soopers or Merrill Lynch, it’s generally better to look svelte and in-shape than it is to appear obese and lazy.
Am I happy that Nikola Jokic looks like he’s “in shape”? Absolutely.
Am I about to conclude that Jokic’s weight actually means something? Not necessarily.
It means that the Joker didn’t let himself go (that’s a good thing). It means that he’s got less weight to both throw around and carry around (that’s just a scientific fact).
It means that we, as a sports community, are incredibly bored.
My gut tells me that a newer, slimmer, leaner Nikola Jokic can’t be a bad thing. Notice: I didn’t use the term “meaner” (two syllables that typically follow “leaner” when describing someone).
If the neighborhood mailman comes in a little lighter, it’s totally fine to say “leaner and meaner.” In this case, “mean” is just a term, most likely meant for fun. It’s certainly not literal, and who knows, maybe it’s best if the mailman develops an edge.
But will the Joker? Does leaner make him meaner? If lean makes the Joker mean, then this is the greatest shedding of pounds in sports. Dropping some pounds should, in theory, make him quicker – and he’s already sneaky fast.
Anthony Davis tips the scales at 254. LeBron James usually weighs in right about 250. Riddle me this Joker jokesters: Are either one of those guys scared because Jokic is now “skinny”? LeBron can drop 50 (points, that is) on just about anyone. Anthony Davis is both lean and mean – not a stitch of fat on the guy, and his brow alone has a menacing appeal. The King will do whatever he wants – against the Nuggets or anyone – but will Joker be more or less effective against AD?
There are arguments for both. He could be quicker. His endurance could be greater. He might even be stronger. That’s the big “X” factor: Did losing weight coincide with gaining strength? We’ll likely have to wait and see what happens on the court to make that call.
Or, can AD more easily throw around a slightly slighter Joker in the post?
And in case you’ve noticed, the Lakers are the only example used for this purpose. Sure, the Nuggets will have to beat others, but the Lakers are the team that stands in the way of a title, which is really all that matters. And in this bizarre finish to the season, I am of the belief that a title for Denver really and truly is a possibility.
Had the season ended in normal fashion, it was the Lakers to win (and next-best wasn’t even close). And, let’s be honest – it still is. But perhaps this odd “break” opens the door for something strange to take place.
Maybe, just maybe, while the Joker was shedding weight, the Lakers were just waiting.
And that can only be a good thing.