Nikola Jokic enjoyed sweeping the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals, but he didn’t view it as a reason to celebrate, writes Mike Singer of The Denver Post. Jokic was typically low-key on Saturday during a session with reporters as he prepares for the first NBA Finals appearance for both himself and his team.
Denver had to overcome a large deficit in Game 4 against L.A., and the victory wasn’t secure until Jamal Murray and Aaron Gordon combined to shut down LeBron James on the final play. It set up a career milestone for Jokic, but he didn’t get emotional about it.
“The win was nice,” he said. “Like half an hour after that, it was just OK. It’s a win. I thought it’s gonna be much bigger feeling, to be honest.”
There’s more from Denver:
- Jokic’s desire to join the Nuggets a year after being drafted stemmed more from personal reasons than professional, per Mark Kiszla of The Denver Post (subscription required). Jokic played one season in the Adriatic League, but he wanted to come to the United States to be closer to his girlfriend, who’s now his wife, and his brothers. Jokic wasn’t certain that he was good enough to play in the NBA, but he asked the Nuggets if he could take part in training camp in 2015 so he could be near his loved ones. “I was more happy to be around them than to be in the NBA,” he admitted.
- General manager Calvin Booth has been in his current job for less than a year, so he wants to make sure the architects of the team get recognized for assembling a championship roster, Singer adds in another Denver Post story (subscription required). Booth offered thanks to former team president Tim Connelly, who put together a version of the Kentavious Caldwell-Pope trade before he left to take over the Timberwolves last summer, and to others who played a role in building the team’s foundation. “(Tim) deserves a ton of credit,” Booth said. “I also think Josh (Kroenke) and (former GM) Masai (Ujiri) deserve credit. … They did the Carmelo (Anthony) trade, and the Carmelo trade ended up being a lot of different assets that helped this team get to this point, one of them being Jamal with the pick swap. I feel like each iteration of the front office has helped contribute to get to this point.”
- The Nuggets were fortunate to land Bruce Brown on the second day of free agency last July, Harrison Wind and Adam Mares of DNVR Sports state on their podcast. Brown said he didn’t get any immediate offers when free agency began, so he was thrilled when Denver expressed interest.