Nuggets Notes: Jackson, Nurkic, Jokic, Altitude, Malone

Nuggets guard Reggie Jackson got a taste of the NBA Finals as a rookie in 2012 with the Thunder, who lost to the Heat. Jackson finds himself facing the Heat again 11 years later after passing through several organizations.

Jackson never realized how hard it would be to get back to the Finals, he told Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times.

“I just thought it was going to be championship after championship after championship,” Jackson said. “So being here, taking 11 years, the ups and downs of the business, injuries, changing franchises, yeah, I don’t take it for granted. I think the 11-year run has made me realize how much luck you really have to have.”

We have more on the Nuggets as they head into the Finals:

  • Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic remains close friends with Nikola Jokic. Nurkic asked for a trade after it became clear Jokic was Denver’s center of the future and he was dealt to Portland during the 2016/17 season. Jokic actually offered to the coaching staff to give Nurkic his starting job back prior to the deal, according to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. “We still talk about what could have been,” Nurkic said. “But everything happens for a reason. I’m happy with my career. And I’m happy for him too … His story is really amazing.”
  • Coach Michael Malone hopes Denver’s altitude will mess with the Heat‘s heads and lungs, ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk writes. “When we can establish that pace of play, that makes it really hard for visiting teams to kind of sustain and stay with that initially,” Malone said. “Most teams will wind up getting their second wind and be able to work themselves into that. But yeah, the altitude is here, man. Might as well use it to our advantage.”
  • The smartest thing owner Stan Kroenke did was remain patient with Malone, Sean Keeler of the Denver Post opines. His core players believe in him and that’s why the Nuggets are in the Finals for the first time. Malone is grateful for the ownership group’s trust in him. “I feel really fortunate and blessed to be working in an organization run by Stan and Josh Kroenke,” Malone said. “They gave me a chance eight years ago to lead this team, and the most important part of this last eight years is their ability to be patient and have a big-picture approach and let this thing grow into what it is today.”
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