Nuggets eye deep playoff run next season with healthy team

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) passes the ball as Golden State Warriors ahead Draymond Eco-friendly (23) defends through the very first 50 percent of Activity 5 of an NBA basketball first-spherical playoff sequence in San Francisco, Wednesday, April 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)

AP

The immediate options for reigning NBA MVP Nikola Jokic centre on heading home to Serbia so he can tend to his horses and shell out time with the family members, which now incorporates a daughter.

“I just hope that I’m going to have — how do you contact it — a non-annoying, tension-totally free summer season,” the Denver Nuggets’ 7-foot do-it-all middle reported.

Concerning now and then, some time for reflection: On a year where by the Nuggets won 48 online games even with missing Jamal Murray (ACL restoration) and Michael Porter Jr. (again). On an forthcoming year, as well, when the band will once once again be back again jointly for a title operate.

That will also be a assumed of Nuggets mentor Michael Malone, who pointed out his itinerary features a stress-free journey to a personal island in the South Pacific as he ponders what just transpired and seems forward.

This stays a extremely regarded staff — when wholesome. But they missed the playmaking of Murray all season as his restoration went slower than expected following tearing a ligament in his still left knee final April. They skipped the extensive-selection taking pictures of Porter, who experienced an additional back again surgical treatment in November and did not return to the court docket. They also missed PJ Dozier (ACL).

It all extra up to currently being removed in the 1st round by Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors in five game titles, while the Nuggets found a way to make the past 3 games aggressive.

“It’s scary to consider about that,” Malone reported of a balanced roster. “When they’re again and they are balanced, I imagine that is heading to make us a deeper, a lot more gifted staff. … I assume the long term is incredibly, extremely brilliant for the Denver Nuggets.”

Specially with Jokic top the way.

The player nicknamed “Joker” became the first NBA player to eclipse 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 500 assists in a frequent period. He also finished with a league-foremost 19 triple-doubles.

“I just really do not realize the people that discover a way to criticize Nikola Jokic,” Malone said. “He impacts the sport in so numerous means. Hell of a time. Hopefully he’ll gain the MVP yet again. I believe rightfully he justifies it.”

Jokic brushes off any disrespect that arrives his way: “Couldn’t care much less, brother.”

This summer season, Jokic could be in line for a supermax offer. He’s all for it, too, just after a time in which he averaged 27.1 points, 13.8 rebounds and 7.9 helps.

“If the provide is on the table, of study course I’m going to settle for it for the reason that I actually like the business. I seriously like the persons who operate below,” Jokic reported. “I assume we have one thing that we’re making. It basically feels actually good.”

BONES EMERGENCE

The season observed the emergence of rookie Bones Hyland, who electrified the group with his 3-level taking pictures. He eclipsed Murray’s team rookie document for 3s in a season and hit the 2nd-most 3-ideas among the all rookies with 131.

Totally free Agents

The Nuggets have rather a number of pending cost-free brokers, together with DeMarcus Cousins, Austin Rivers and Bryn Forbes. Jeff Eco-friendly and JaMychal Environmentally friendly maintain participant options, in accordance to Spotrac.

Cousins came up large in Recreation 5 for the Nuggets with 19 points above 15 minutes even though filling in for Jokic, who was hampered by fouls and a limited hamstring.

“I really don’t know what the foreseeable future retains,” Cousins reported of his return. “The probable is terrifying (with the Nuggets). Naturally it seems very good on paper, but we’ve bought to put every thing alongside one another. We’ll see what occurs.”

Head Game titles

Nuggets ahead Aaron Gordon designs to acquire a couple of months off to rest and then get to get the job done — on his head video game as very well as his hoops video game.

“I’m actively playing with Joke, who is one of the smartest basketball players in the globe. Got to increase my stage of IQ to help him, to help absolutely everyone, to help the coaching staff,” Gordon claimed. “Just turning out to be far more a university student of the video game. I’ve relied on my expertise for so long, just normal talent, not plenty of on the cerebral element of the match.”

Highway Scholars

The Nuggets finished the normal season with 25 wins on the street, the most in their NBA historical past. They went 23-18 at Ball Arena.

MILESTONES

Will Barton became the Nuggets’ all-time chief in 3-pointers this season, surpassing J.R. Smith.

“I normally want a lot more, normally really feel I can do a lot more, enjoy better,” Barton mentioned.

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