Northwest Notes: Nuggets, Malone, Gobert, Jazz Draft

The Nuggets are intent on ending the Western Conference Finals on Monday night, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN writes. Denver doesn’t want to give the Lakers a boost of confidence by failing to sweep the series. “We want to give them no hope,” swingman Bruce Brown said.

Nuggets superstar Nikola Jokic believes the Lakers won’t go down quietly: “I’m not going to say that I’m scared. But I’m worried because they have (LeBron James) on the other side and he is capable of doing everything.”

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • A franchise that has never won the NBA championship is on the verge of reaching the Finals. Nuggets coach Michael Malone is excited by the possibility of ending the franchise’s drought. “I’ve never looked at the history of the Nuggets as a weight or a burden. I’ve looked at it as an opportunity to be the first team to win a championship,” Malone told Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post. “It’s never been about the pressure. This is an exciting chance to do something nobody in Denver Nuggets history has ever done. I want to write history. That’s what I want to do.”
  • Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert went into a “dark retreat” last week, much like quarterback Aaron Rodgers did before he was dealt to the New York Jets, Chris Hine of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. Gobert wrote on a social media that he spent “64 hours in full darkness.” It’s part of Gobert’s plan to have “the best summer” of his career as he looks to bounce back from an inconsistent first season with the franchise.
  • Gobert’s former team, the Jazz, had a large presence at last week’s combine, Tony Jones of The Athletic notes. The Jazz conducted more than 20 player interviews during the combine and came away convinced they’ll get a solid player at the No. 9 spot. The Jazz also hold two other first-round picks at No. 16 and No. 28. They believe the draft is deep enough that they can nab a quality player at each spot, with a lead ball-handler high on their wish list.
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