Even if you didn’t realize it, if you watched the 2023 NBA Finals series, you witnessed history as it was being made.
The Denver Nuggets are sitting on top of the basketball world right now, having just won the biggest title in the sport: the NBA championship. But, their title win does not just mark another season done and dusted — their victory was a first of its kind for many reasons, and for all these reasons, we should not take what the Nuggets have accomplished for granted.
Accomplishing never-before-seen records on the biggest basketball stage, hitting huge numbers, and achieving notable firsts, here are four ways the Denver Nuggets have made their marks in the history books of the NBA.
1. The first for their franchise
Let’s start with the main headline: the Denver Nuggets have just won their first-ever NBA championship in franchise history. Taking down the Miami Heat in five games of the finals series, the Nuggets lifted the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy for the first time since they joined the league in 1976. This was also their maiden finals appearance in the NBA, after winning their first-ever Western Conference crown.
2. A long time coming
Indeed, the Nuggets went on a dominant run that saw the team sweep the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals and win the NBA Finals in five games. But it was years and years in the making.
It took Denver 44 playoff appearances in the league before they won their first championship, the most for any franchise in NBA history.
3. Jokic with the big numbers
Nikola Jokic may be the most humble player in the league, especially for the big numbers he posts. In their series against the Heat, the Nuggets leader averaged 30.2 points, 14 rebounds, and seven assists, becoming the first NBA player to average at least 30 points, 14 rebounds, and five assists in a finals series. Thus, no one was surprised to see him win the title of Finals MVP.
With numbers like this, Jokic became the first player in the NBA to record the most points, rebounds, and assists, all in one postseason run. On top of this, he also recorded 10 triple-doubles in the postseason — the most in playoff history.
4. A perfect pairing
While Jokic was definitely instrumental in the Denver Nuggets’ first chip, he was not the only one. Jamal Murray also averaged at least 25 points, five assists, and five rebounds throughout this year’s playoffs, making him and Jokic the first pair of teammates to both record these numbers in a single postseason.
Combined, Murray and Jokic put up some pretty stellar numbers. They also became the first pair to combine for 300 assists and 1,000 points in a single postseason.
All in all, this was definitely an NBA season to remember, with its own share of unexpected twists and turns, Cinderella stories, fairytale endings, and history makers.
Banner image from AFP.