the crowning of the Denver Nuggets, “franchise-model” and NBA champion

The city of Denver has finally reached the heights of the NBA. After three Super Bowls (1997, 1998, 2015) in American football and three Stanley Cups (1996, 2001 and 2022), in ice hockey, the inhabitants of the Colorado city can celebrate their basketball players. By winning (94-89) against the Miami Heat on Monday, June 12, in the fifth game of the finals, the Denver Nuggets ended 47 seasons without a title in the North American basketball league. Since the creation of the franchise, the Denver “nuggets” had never made it past the Western Conference Finals.

For years, Nuggets executives have patiently crafted a franchise that dominates the league. And the coronation of the partners of the Serbian giant Nikola Jokic, crowned MVP of the finals, validates the work of the shadows that began at the dawn of the 2010s, at the end of the “Carmelo Anthony era”, protagonist and creator of the troupe .

Whether or not they’ll be a part of it again in 2023, former Nuggets leaders Tim Connelly and Arturas Karnisovas have a lot to do with that success. Considered “the architect of the team”, the former is behind the arrival in Colorado of Nikola Jokic, selected in the 41stAnd project location – this vast “bag” for young players – in 2014, Jamal Murray (7And pick in 2016) or even Michael Porter Jr. (14th pick in 2018). Now respectively at the Chicago Bulls and the Minnesota Timberwolves, Arturas Karnisovas and Tim Connelly have been replaced by Calvin Booth, who also proved capable of strengthening the team during the draft and the transfer market.

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Calvin is very important in what we produce every night on the court. I said to Josh (Kroenke, owner) when Tim left: I have a feeling Calvin is more than ready to lead this franchise.” recently praised Nuggets coach Mike Malone for the current general manager’s influence on the team’s success.

A duo of madness at the service of the collective

Unlike other franchises, the leaders of the Nuggets have always allowed time for Mike Malone, in charge since June 2015, to complete his project. For example, the five years without finals qualification (from 2013 to 2018) did not change anything in the model of the Colorado franchise. The executives, aware of the youth of Michael Malone’s training, have always shown faith in him, despite years of complicated results.

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The Nuggets’ coronation on Monday is first and foremost the work of a shock duo. “It is first and foremost a team effort. I say it and I say it again: it’s the Denver Nuggets who have to beat the Miami Heat, not just me and Jamal.” however, pivot Nikola Jokic was annoyed after game three of the series. The Serbian double MVP (“Most Valuable Player”) no longer wants his breathtaking performance with Jamal Murray to eclipse the collective play produced by his partners. “It’s been four series in a row that our bench has done an extraordinary job, Michael Malone also pointed out. Minutes without Nikola have been a talking point all season. Our game might not be as brilliant without him but the five guys on the pitch are defending hard and that’s the key. »

Strong forward Aaron Gordon, who embodies the youthful talent that flourishes within the team, reclaimed this very special collective after the fourth game. “It’s a great group. The camaraderie is there, the cohesion is there, the talent is there, the intelligence is there, the altruism is there… We really are like brothers, insisted the former Orlando spiker. It’s rare in the NBA to have a group of selfless players who are accepting and really bend over backwards for the guy on their side. »

End of a dream course for Miami

But Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray know it, their duo has allowed us to overlook these NBA play-offs. The 2021 and 2022 MVP admired his Canadian teammate at a press conference. “He’s been playing amazingly since the play-offs started. We’re just following in his footsteps, he’s a great leader.”. Before number 27 replies: “Nicola? One gets the impression that everything is easy for him, he recovers 21 rebounds and we’ll say he doesn’t know how to jump. He’s strong and very tough on mischief.

The Denver Nuggets became the 21st on MondayAnd team crowned NBA champion (out of thirty franchises). Putting an end to the Miami Heat’s dream of ending their high flying playoffs. Going into the finals as the eighth seed, Jimmy Butler’s teammates were not the favorites. But Miami later beat Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Milwaukee Bucks in five sets, before defeating the New York Knicks in the quarterfinals. Coach Erik Spoelstra’s troops then defeated the Boston Celtics, after recovering from a three-win outlay. But that dream run ended when the Nuggets’ gold diggers finally dressed in gold after 47 years of fruitless searches.

Read also: NBA: Miami qualifies for the final and deprives Boston of a historic comeback