Aaron Gordon‘s siblings noticed a positive change in his focus, demeanor and approach last offseason after the Nuggets were eliminated in their first-round playoff series against the Warriors, they told Marc J. Spears of Andscape. The 27-year-old responded with a career year.
As the team’s best defensive player, Gordon is often given the unenviable task of attempting to slow down the world’s best scorers. He limited Heat star Jimmy Butler to just two field goal attempts in 34 half-court possessions during Denver’s Game 1 victory, per Spears. Butler finished with his fewest points scored (13 on 6-of-14 shooting) since March 29, Spears adds.
Gordon, who had 12 points (on 6-of-8 shooting) and four rebounds in the first quarter en route to a lead the Nuggets would never relinquish, says he isn’t interested in anything but winning.
“I’m not here for the credit. I’m here for the wins,” Gordon said in the post-game presser. “Playing with guys like the guys that are on this team is just a blessing. It’s a beautiful opportunity to play with guys on the team that have so much talent, have so much skill and have so much passion for the game of basketball.
“That’s what I’ve always loved is to play the right way of basketball, and we do that here. I don’t care if I score 50 or 0, as long as I’m helping impact the game and we’re winning.”
Here’s more from the Western Conference:
- In another story for Andscape, Spears details general manager Calvin Booth‘s influence on the Nuggets reaching the NBA Finals. “It’s pretty well known now the guys he brought in are a huge part of the reason why we’re in the Finals,” forward Michael Porter Jr. said. “Obviously, KCP (Kentavious Caldwell-Pope) and Bruce (Brown) being two of those guys. But really the vets, too, as much as the guys on the floor, are contributing to us winning, like DJ (DeAndre Jordan), Jeff (Green), Ish (Smith), Reggie (Jackson). Those guys’ attitude and their leadership is just part of the reason why we’re doing so well. It’s really just finding a group of guys that mesh in the locker room is a big part of winning. Calvin did a great job of that.“
- The Timberwolves are hosting a free agent camp on June 14 and 15, reports Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News and Skor North (via Twitter). One former NBA player who will be present is guard Sharife Cooper, who spent his rookie season in 2021/22 with the Hawks. Cooper played for the Cavs’ G League affiliate, the Cleveland Charge, this past season, averaging 21.3 PPG, 6.3 APG and 3.8 RPG on .431/.316/.853 shooting in 25 regular season games (32.5 MPG).
- As Mike Vorukov of The Athletic writes, the Spurs were the only NBA team in ’22/23 to finish below the league’s salary cap floor, coming in at about $14MM under the threshold. Because that amount is then distributed to the players, each member of the roster will be getting a check for more than $700K, sources tell Vorkunov. San Antonio might be the last team to go under the salary floor for quite a while, Vorkunov adds, since the new CBA penalizes teams for not spending enough.
- LJ Ellis of SpursTalk.com recently took a look at San Antonio’s roster following the news that Victor Wembanyama will be in the fold. Ellis likes the fit between Wembanyama and big man Zach Collins, but thinks the Spurs will likely wait to see how they play together before contemplating a possible extension for Collins.