Nuggets, Nikola Jokic missed Gary Harris almost as much as Jamal Murray in NBA Playoffs. How screwy is that?

If you thought Nikola Jokic’s ejection was screwy, get a load of this:

Gary Harris in the 2020 Western Conference semifinals averaged more points (10), more 3-point makes (1.9), more steals (1.9) and more blocks (0.3) versus the Clippers than Aaron Gordon (9.0, zero, 1.0 and zero) did against the Suns this past week.

Harris, the former Nuggets wing guard and defensive stopper shot 50% from the floor and 41.9% from beyond the arc in the 2020 semis.

Gordon, the current Denver forward who came over from Orlando as the spiciest piece of a swap for Harris just this past March, shot 41% and went 0-for-8 on treys versus Phoenix in ’21.

Let that sink in for a minute. Then look for the nearest wall to beat your head against until the pain goes away.

We bring this up not to re-litigate the Gordon trade, which made perfect sense at a time when Jamal Murray was healthy and you presumed that the road to the NBA Finals would go through, at some point, Dallas, the Clippers or the Lakers.

Gordon was brought here, in large part, to harass Luka Doncic, Kawhi Leonard and LeBron James. Things … changed.

Instead, according to NBA.com tracking data, No. 50 spent the bulk of 10 playoff contests chasing around — and doing an estimable job against — smaller sharpshooters such as Devin Booker (10-for-22 with Gordon guarding him, and 1-for-3 on treys) and Damian Lillard (9-for-22, 4-for-13).

The problem? Booker was 3-for-7 on treys when covered by Facu Campazzo. He went 2-for-3 when guarded by Monte Morris.

Chris Paul was 4-for-4 from the floor and 3-for-3 on treys when covered by Will Barton during the semis. CP3 shot 5-for-5 on 2-pointers when matched up against Nikola Jokic, largely on mid-range jumpers dropped from either in the lane or near it. Open jumpers, too.

Jokic is many, many, many things, on top of being the NBA MVP. He is not, and likely never will be, an impact defender, a shot-changer or a rim protector.

That goes double for Michael Porter Jr., bad back or otherwise. And neither is Murray, too, to be honest — although that side of his game, statistically, was ticking up before his left knee gave out.

As long as the Nuggets’ core Big 3 remains The Joker, the Blue Arrow and MPJ, that core has to be supplemented, and complemented, by guys who get after it defensively. If you’re not going to change the leads in this cast, then you need to tweak the supporting actors.

The Nuggs gave up 12.2 3-pointers per game in the playoff bubble last summer. That number shot up to 14.8 this spring, for a difference of almost eight points a contest.

Among the West squads who made the playoffs in both 2020 and 2021, only the Blazers (plus-2.8 makes) saw a bigger leap in opponent treys made per game than the Nuggets’ plus-2.6.

Denver opponents shot 37.3% from behind the arc in the 2020 postseason. That number jumped to 41.7% in ‘21, the second-worst mark in the NBA after Boston’s 42.6.

Granted, Lillard had a lot to do with that, all by himself. Although Phoenix managed 12.8 triples per game as a collective, Booker only accounted for two of those per tilt. So there was plenty of blame to go around. Plenty of gaps, too.

(And before you lay the sweep at the feet of coach Michael Malone, Phil Jackson and Pat Riley also would’ve struggled with a starting backcourt of Facu and Austin Rivers. If a Nuggets core that features a healthy Jokic, Murray, MPJ and Gordon gets stomped in the second round of the ’22 bracket, then the coach is part of the problem. Until then, it’s just rage tweeting.)