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Scoggins: Denver's Joker defies Wolves' attempts to stop him

Paging Kevin Garnett, Mr. Kevin Garnett. Please report to Target Center, pronto.

Desperate times call for extreme measures. The Timberwolves could use a large dose of Garnett's flaming tenacity on defense in dealing with the basketball unicorn that is Nikola Jokic.

Even that might not be enough, after watching Jokic push the Wolves to the brink of offseason vacation with one of the most overpowering postseason performances in NBA history Tuesday night in Game 5.

The Joker is not joking around, so the Wolves can't either in their attempt to figure out this riddle. Traditional defensive methods haven't worked, and won't work, against the three-time league MVP, leaving coach Chris Finch no other option but to employ drastic tactics.

Basketball teams occasionally use box-and-1 or triangle-and-2 schemes when facing dynamic scorers. Finch should consider a "Timberwolves Trois" alignment. Surround Jokic with three defenders and hope the other two guys can cover four Nuggets.

Another idea: Hoist Rudy Gobert onto Karl-Anthony Towns' shoulders, thus giving the Wolves a rim protector 14 feet tall.

No idea is too outrageous here. If Jokic controls the game the way he did Tuesday night in Denver, the Wolves have no chance of extending the series.

We can dissect every facet of this matchup for a month, but sometimes the correct answer is best put in simplest terms:

The Nuggets have Nikola Jokic, and the Wolves don't.

The game of basketball has never witnessed a player quite like Jokic, and Denver's center/point guard/savant put his full array of skills on display in Game 5.

The most impressive part of his stat line – 40 points, 13 assists, seven rebounds, two steals, one block – is that he did not commit a single turnover, despite having the ball in his hands for what felt like 20 seconds of every possession.

In five games this series, Jokic leads the Nuggets in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals and blocks. This coming against the NBA's top-ranked defense, anchored by four-time Defensive Player of the Year winner in Gobert.

Technically, Jokic is listed as a center, which is like describing Tom Hanks as an actor in comedy films. His game cannot be defined by position.

Jokic possesses the footwork and craftiness of Hakeem Olajuwon around the basket, but he's equally adept away from the basket as a facilitator, passer, ball handler and shooter.

His off-balance, high-arching floaters might look unorthodox, but his touch from all distances is velvety. His normal shots resemble trick shots, as if he's playing a game of H-O-R-S-E. It's almost cruel when he swishes rainbow three-pointers when defenders give him an inch of space.

The Wolves aren't allowed even a second to exhale whenever Jokic is on the court. Vikings coach Kevin O'Connell should show rookie quarterback J.J. McCarthy videos of Jokic's full-court outlet passes after grabbing a rebounding.

The beauty of Jokic's game is that he plays the game at his speed, whatever pace he decides that to be. Slow, fast, somewhere in between. He controls everything as if the other guys on the court are attached to a string.

Finch has a quandary on his hands heading into Thursday's Game 6. The Wolves cannot guard Jokic with a single defender. Gobert, the league's best defender, tried and failed. Towns is the best option, but his silly fouls continue to be a problem.

The Wolves could send a double team to force the ball out of Jokic's hands, but he's so crafty and skilled as a passer that he finds open teammates.

The Wolves are facing elimination. Jokic is playing at a higher level than everyone else on the court, and the Wolves should do everything in their power to make someone else beat them. If that's Jamal Murray or Aaron Gordon or Michael Porter Jr. — or the entire supporting cast combined — the gamble is worth it.

Jokic has no equal in the NBA, or on the planet, and he should be treated as such. Every option should be considered, even having Wolves players soak their uniforms in a vat of rotten eggs before the game. If they can't stop him, might as well make it an unpleasant experience.