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“The next step is to become a dynasty.” Jokic’s Denver won’t stop at an NBA trophy

Date: March 2, 2024 Time: 05:59:46

The population of Denver does not exceed 700 thousand people, but today it is this small city in the state of Colorado that has become the basketball capital of the United States. For the first time in 47 NBA seasons, the Nuggets reached the finals and won the trophy with a 94-89 (4-1) victory over Miami in the deciding game.

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Denver are NBA champions! The Nuggets have been getting to this point for almost 47 years.

“Go and win this match. 12 minutes, bro, and you’re in history. Forever”. This is the message that veteran DeAndre Jordan left for the hero of the current playoffs, Jamal Murray, at the end of the fifth game. In its course, the Nuggets executed only 5 of 28 long-distance attempts, 57% from free throws, committed 15 turnovers and lost 10 points in the first half, but got back in the game in the second.

Who knows how this series would have played out if Nikola Jokic hadn’t scored 10 points in the deciding quarter. He is now an NBA champion, although a few years ago this could hardly be predicted.

Jokic came to Denver in 2015, a year after being selected 41st overall in the second round. He played in the Serbian “Mega” and was not a prominent prospect. Scouts noted that he had an incredible feel for the game, but poor fitness limited Nicola noticeably on attack. He recounted how, upon arriving in the US, he could not stand even 20 seconds on the plank. Then the future champion was a big fan of sweets, and in particular Coca-Cola, which he drank three liters a day.

But with the Nuggets, Jokic went from a pudgy teenager to a sports center, and one of the best ever.

Nicholas Jokic

Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

“I said to myself, ‘This guy was on the NBA All-Rookie Team as a center, and now I’m going to take him off the bench and play No. 4.’ Screw it. Nikola is our center.” . And in the next game I released him in the center. From that moment on, our attack, our team, our victories, everything went up immediately.

I have made the decision that it will be the center of everything we do. Every decision we make, every player we bring in, has to be someone who can play Nikola and complete him. It was a defining moment in franchise history. Best decision I’ve ever made,” Nuggets head coach Mike Malone said.

Jokic led the playoffs in points (30), rebounds (14.5) and assists (9.5), eventually becoming the first center in more than 20 years to be named Finals Series MVP. Also, among all the players who have ever received this award, he was selected with the lowest number in the draft.

His Nuggets defeated Devin Booker and Kevin Durant in six games, LeBron James and Anthony Davis in four, and Playoff Jimmy in five. Nicola set multiple records with the most triple-doubles in the playoffs, including one with 30 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists in the finals.

Since Shaquille O’Neal’s time on the Lakers, we haven’t seen a team that was led to the championship by the fifth number. But if Shaq’s partner was the legendary Kobe Bryant, then the Joker has more modest support – Jamal Murray. At the same time, they were the ones who became the first duo in history in which both players managed to score at least 25 points, five rebounds and five assists on average throughout the playoffs.

Murray, like Michael Porter, was part of a slow, gradual rebuild for the Nuggets. Jamal joined the team in 2016 after being selected seventh overall. Interestingly, that selection went to the team in 2011 as a result of the trade for star Carmelo Anthony. Porter joined the franchise in 2018: he was drafted 14th overall, though if it weren’t for a bad back, he would have easily entered the top 5.

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Even in the previous season, Murray did not play a single match – he tore the cruciate ligaments in his knee and missed the entire championship. Porter also underwent a third back operation and “fell off” after nine games. In his absence, Jokic threw so hard that he won his second MVP award. But with the return of Porter and Murray to the system, Denver launched into the championship.

In the playoffs, Jamal put in a historic performance. He played his first Finals series better than both LeBron and Steph Curry at the time: He scored a triple-double with 30 points and became the only player to surpass the 50-assist mark. Porter struggled with 3-pointers throughout the playoffs, but in Game 5 of the Finals he played a key role in rebounding and defense.

“When I was in rehab, I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t climb stairs for more than a month or two. There were many tears. Lots of blood and sweat, and really. I still have moments where I feel insecure, but I’ve improved a lot and put it behind me. And Mike did the same thing,” Murray admitted.

jamal murray

Photo: Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

By the way, about the defense. For the past three years, Denver has been one of the worst teams in the playoffs in terms of defensive rating. Not surprisingly, this time the team predicted trouble for their own half. But the Nuggets don’t have the same roster they had three years ago. It has changed even compared to last season: Murray and Porter have returned, Bruce Brown, Kentavius ​​​​Caldwell-Pope and even a young Christian Brown have arrived. They certainly contributed to the game on defense. Yes, and Jokic looked much better than in the regular season, although in the playoffs everything usually turns out the other way around. As a result, the champions entered the top 4 in def-rating, and in the final they limited the opponent to 96 points per game on average.

Prior to this season, the only two teams founded before 1980 that had never played in the NBA Finals were the Nuggets and Clippers. Now, Denver has joined San Antonio as the second ABA team to win the trophy. . But the Spurs have been champions five times since 1999. And the Nuggets, it seems, intend to repeat something similar.

“We want more. We’re talking about evolution in this game. You’re on your way from nobody to beginner. From beginner to winner. From winner to contender, and from contender to champion. The next step after the championship is to become a a dynasty,” said Mike Malone.

Such a belief in success is quite justified. Jokic is just 28, Murray is 26 and Porter is 24. The entire starting five will remain on a contract with Denver through at least the 2024/2025 season. In addition, members of the Kroenke family, which is in charge of the franchise, have already established themselves as patient managers. Malone was given eight years to build a championship team, and this is the result. Next year, the Nuggets will undoubtedly be called one of the main contenders for the victory. Whether they will be able to defend the title or not is another question. The main thing is that there are no injuries. And there, just look, a two-time MVP will try to become a two-time champion.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.
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