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Nuggets eye deep playoff run subsequent season with wholesome workforce | Sports



DENVER (AP) — The instant plans for reigning NBA MVP Nikola Jokic middle on heading dwelling to Serbia so he can are likely to his horses and spend time with the household, which now features a daughter.

“I just hope that I’m going to have — how do you call it — a non-stressful, stress-free summer,” the Denver Nuggets’ 7-foot do-it-all middle stated.

Between every now and then, a while for reflection: On a season the place the Nuggets gained 48 video games regardless of lacking Jamal Murray (ACL restoration) and Michael Porter Jr. (again). On an upcoming season, too, when the band will as soon as once more be again collectively for a title run.

That may even be a considered Nuggets coach Michael Malone, who identified his itinerary features a stress-free journey to a non-public island within the South Pacific as he ponders what simply transpired and appears forward.

This stays a extremely regarded workforce — when wholesome. But they missed the playmaking of Murray all season as his restoration went slower than anticipated after tearing a ligament in his left knee final April. They missed the long-range taking pictures of Porter, who had one other again surgical procedure in November and did not return to the courtroom. They additionally missed PJ Dozier (ACL).

It all added as much as being eradicated within the first spherical by Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors in 5 video games, though the Nuggets discovered a technique to make the final three video games aggressive.

“It’s scary to think about that,” Malone stated of a wholesome roster. “When they’re back and they’re healthy, I think that’s going to make us a deeper, more talented team. … I think the future is very, very bright for the Denver Nuggets.”

Especially with Jokic main the best way.

The participant nicknamed “Joker” grew to become the primary NBA participant to eclipse 2,000 factors, 1,000 rebounds and 500 assists in an everyday season. He additionally completed with a league-leading 19 triple-doubles.

“I just don’t understand the people that find a way to criticize Nikola Jokic,” Malone stated. “He impacts the game in so many ways. Hell of a season. Hopefully he’ll win the MVP again. I think rightfully he deserves it.”

Jokic brushes off any disrespect that comes his manner: “Couldn’t care less, brother.”

This summer season, Jokic could possibly be in line for a supermax deal. He’s all for it, too, after a season wherein he averaged 27.1 factors, 13.8 rebounds and seven.9 assists.

“If the offer is on the table, of course I’m going to accept it because I really like the organization. I really like the people who work here,” Jokic stated. “I think we have something that we’re building. It actually feels really good.”

BONES EMERGENCE

The season noticed the emergence of rookie Bones Hyland, who electrified the group together with his 3-point taking pictures. He eclipsed Murray’s workforce rookie document for 3s in a season and hit the second-most 3-pointers amongst all rookies with 131.

FREE AGENTS

The Nuggets have fairly a couple of pending free brokers, together with DeMarcus Cousins, Austin Rivers and Bryn Forbes. Jeff Green and JaMychal Green maintain participant choices, in line with Spotrac.

Cousins got here up large in Game 5 for the Nuggets with 19 factors over quarter-hour whereas filling in for Jokic, who was hampered by fouls and a decent hamstring.

“I don’t know what the future holds,” Cousins stated of his return. “The potential is scary (with the Nuggets). Obviously it looks good on paper, but we’ve got to put everything together. We’ll see what happens.”

MIND GAMES

Nuggets ahead Aaron Gordon plans to take a couple of weeks off to relaxation after which get to work — on his thoughts sport in addition to his hoops sport.

“I’m playing with Joke, who is one of the smartest basketball players in the world. Got to raise my level of IQ to help him, to help everyone, to help the coaching staff,” Gordon stated. “Just becoming more a student of the game. I’ve relied on my talent for so long, just natural talent, not enough on the cerebral part of the game.”

ROAD SCHOLARS

The Nuggets completed the common season with 25 wins on the highway, probably the most of their NBA historical past. They went 23-18 at Ball Arena.

MILESTONES

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

“I all the time need extra, all the time really feel I can do extra, play higher,” Barton said.

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